CHARLEY BOORMAN COMING TO DEUS AND THE SYDNEY BIKE SHOW!
www.cycletorque.com.au w ww.ccycletorque.ccom..aau
FOR THE L ATES
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OT OC YC L
ALSO RIDDEN: KTM 690 ENDURO R & SMC TRIUMPH THUNDERBIRD KTM 2010 EXC 4-STROKES VICTORY HAMMER S YAMAHA R1
E TO RQUE
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FEATURES KAWASAKI KLX450R – FACTORY MODIFIED KTM SUNNY CORNER RALLY NOVEMBER 2009 - 1 ARCTIC CAT PROWLER
2010 Harley range
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Full details page 23
REGULARS 3-15 News
USED & REVIEWED
Cover: Harley-Davdison 883 courtesy H-D
WattsY Seriously Injured
VETERAN enduro legend Shane Watts has been seriously injured in a crash he descibes as “one of those dumb, slow crashes at only about 5mph – which probably should not have even happened”.
In an update Wattsy released, he described what happened and the injuries. “I went off a 3 metre high creek bank the engine stalled, which resulted in an abrupt endo and trip over the hangers. I landed sprawled out flat on the creek bed and the bike proceeded to have an intense, direct impact on my spinal column just below my shoulder blades. This resulted in three broken ribs, but more importantly multiple fractures to the six vertebrae between T3 and T8.” After some time in hospital, surgery was decided to the the best option – as Cycle Torque went to press the report is the operation went well. “I’ll spend approximately 3 days in hospital for observation and pain management but then will be able to walk on out of there and begin light, every day activities as I continue to heal. Following about three months of recovery and rehab the specialist says I’ll be ready to get back out on the trails again and get into it!” Watts had been planning on making the 2009 ISDE his last, but he won’t be doing that. More information can be found on Wattsy’s website, www.shanewatts.com, or follow his progress on Twitter (just search for Shane Watts). n
Watsy racing in the A4DE a few years ago.
APRILIA’S RSV4 Factory has been recently released to much acclaim, but soon you’ll be able to buy a more budget friendly version. Called the RSV4R, the main differences between this and its more up-spec sibling will be plastic body work instead of carbon fibre, Showa forks and Sachs rear shock instead of Öhlins suspension and heavier wheels. Reports say the frame is non-adjustable – you can adjust engine, swingarm and steering head position on the Factory – but the ‘R’ frame still looks as though you can adjust at least the engine position. It looks as though the bike will be released in Australia early next year and should retail quite a few thousand dollars less than the Factory. This will bring it into the ball park price wise with bike like Ducati’s 1198, KTM’s RC8 and BMW’s all-new S 1000 RR. n
NOVEMBER 2009 - 3
Vermeulen to SBK
CHRIS Vermeulen will ride for the Kawasaki World Superbike Racing Team in 2010, campaigning a ZX10R.
have announced they will not race in the Australian Superbike Championship in 2010 (Yamaha will still race Supersport), joining Honda which pulled out this year.
This switch has been anticipated by most in the MotoGP paddock, and despite his obvious talent has been unable to get the Suzuki MotoGP machine on the podium in 2009.
Suzuki is the only factory which hasn’t announced its withdrawal from the Australian championships. Also on the Australian road racing scene there looks to be a shakeup in the Australian Superbike Championship, with Superbike and Supersport classes possibly run with the V8 Supercar series, much like the old Two + Four set-up over a decade ago.
Many might say he’s going from the frying pan into the fire with the switch back to SBK, but he’s better equipped than most to get the best out the ZX10R. Vermeulen’s first race for the new squad will be at his home round of the championship, Phillip Island on February 26-28. “It’s a really good deal and I’m excited about joining Kawasaki from the technical point of view, to race and develop the bike next year and then go out on the new bike for 2011,” Vermeulen said. “WSB is going to be their main project, they are pulling out of MotoGP and they will not be running an AMA team nor a team in the Australian SBK championship - this WSB program is where all their engineers and budget will be focussed. They haven’t won in WSB for a long time and they really want to win races. “The financial backing and resources is very good for this project.” Unfortunately things don’t look all that good for Australia’s Broc Parkes in the factory Kawasaki squad. It looks as though his spot could be taken by either Tom Sykes or British journeyman Shane Byrne. It seems a shame that a rider of Parkes’ talent could be forced home, especially when there are slim pickings for riders back here in Australia. Both Kawasaki and Yamaha
Dates have yet to be set and what will happen with the support classes of the ASBK series is also yet to be confirmed. Further shaking things up is a collaboration between Formula Xtreme promoter Terry O’Neill, the Australian Racing Drivers Club (ARDC), Benalla Auto Club, AVE TV and O’Neill’s own company, the Australasian Superbike Company. Eastern Creek, Winton Raceway and Wakefield Park are either owned or run by the ARDC and the Benalla Auto Club. The important thing here is that this group of companies had decided to run a race series, under the Australian Auto Sport Alliance (AASA) banner without sanction by Motorcycling Australia. It might sound a bit convoluted but the group has put in place a race series for 2010, titled the 2010 Australian Formula Xtreme Championship Series. The five round series kicks off at Wakefield Park on March 26-28, culminating at Eastern Creek on October 29-31. The group will also hold a three round series during December 2010. n
Middleweight Hypermotard DUCATI’S 1100 Hypermotard is about to get a little brother, but not too little a brother. Joining the ranks is a 796cc version with 60kw of power and good torque. The bike has a lower seat height than the 1100cc version and uses a wet clutch, like the 848. A few colour schemes are available, including Ducati Red of course, and although the bike is expected to be on sale in January, a price is yet to be confirmed. n
4 - NOVEMBER 2009
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Tell your dealer to contact: (02) 9757 0061 NOVEMBER 2009 - 5 www.ficeda.com.au
One hour hijinks THE Post Classic Racing Association of NSW is again running its annual One Hour endurance racing event. Held on November 21-22 and featuring both sprint and endurance race, this is the PCRA’s most fun meeting of the year. All the Club Championships were decided at the last ever Historic Race meeting at Oran Park in October. With no Championship points to accrue, Wakefield is now a regular on the PCRA race calendar and is the season warm down meeting with the emphasis on FUN. Saturday kicks off with sprint races and the first of three 1-hour enduros run over
the weekend, with Formula 3 machines like Yamaha FZR400, Honda VFR400 and Honda RS125 running alongside an eclectic mix of Period 4 and Period 5 up to 500cc machines like Honda CB350, Yamaha RD350LC, Bimota/Yamaha 400, Ducati 500 Pantah and Yamaha SR500. Sunday sees the Bucket 1 Hour and the Premier 1 Hour event with iconic ’70s, ’80s and ’90s machines like the Suzuki GSX1100, Honda CB1100R, Yamaha YZF750 and Honda VFR750 sharing the same track with middleweight and GP machines like the Team Green Kawasaki ZX-6 and Yamaha TZ250.
The name of the game is endurance, two riders per team sharing the same machine with pit stops to change machines, refuel and make repairs. With riders aged 16 -75 and machines 20-45 years old, 1-Hour starts to feel like a very long time! Catch the action and absorb the smell of the two-stroke oil burners, before you know it you’ll be daydreaming about racing “that bike” which takes you back to your youth! Action starts at 9am both days. Contact Rick on: 0414 570776 for more details or visit www.postclassicracing.com.au n
Stewart Wins 2009 Rockstar US Open San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart put the new spec 2010 YZ450F to good use by dominating both nights of the 2009 Rockstar US Open of Supercross at Las Vegas’ MGM Arena. Friday night’s main event was a Stewart white-wash the 2009 AMA Supercross Champion pulling the holeshot and leading all 20 laps while Geico Honda’s Dan Reardon held down second for most of the race only to be passed by Honda’s Davi Millsaps late in the race. “I am just happy to get out here and race tonight,” said Stewart. “There is a lot of work I have to do, but the bike worked great tonight. This is always a fun event and I am excited to be a part of it.” “This is an important race for me,” said Reardon. “I look forward to tomorrow night’s race. I put myself in a great position heading into tomorrow night, so we will see what happens.” Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto suffered a mechanical failure and did not finish the race. Millsaps finished second and Reardon finished third. Reardon pulled the holeshot in the second night’s final only to be passed by Stewart and Villopoto and much later in the race by Millsaps. Stewart went on to take a convincing win and collect the $100,000 prize. “It was a fun race,” said Stewart. “I didn’t get the start that I wanted but I got the job done. The money is one thing but our team works really hard so this is rewarding for them. I was able to put in some really strong laps after I made my way around (Dan) Reardon.” In the overall points Millsaps finished second with Reardon making it onto the overall podium in third. – Darren Smart
6 - NOVEMBER 2009
NOVEMBER 2009 - 7
Meet Charley Boorman – Win a place at the Deus Ex Machina Dinner – See him at the Sydney Bike Show CHARLEY Boorman, the motorcycle adventurer behind the ‘Long Way’ TV series and books, will be in town for the Deus Motorcycles fourth birthday celebrations and at the Sydney Motorcycle Show in late November. Boorman is the special guest at Deus’ Birthday Celebrations and Cycle Torque has a double pass to the celebration dinner on Friday November 20, where he will launch his latest book, Right to the Edge: Sydney to Tokyo By Any Means. Although tickets to the dinner will be
available to the public, numbers will be join the Cycle Torque crew live on stage strictly limited. at the Sydney Motorcycle Show. n Boorman will also be at the Deus Ex Machina store on Saturday November 21 for “The Innermost Limits of Puerile Fun” from midday to 6pm, where he will judge a Deus Motorcycle Owners’ bike show and shine as Deus birthday celebrations continue. There will be a Motorcycle Parts Swap Meet - tanks, tyres, seats, bars ‘n bits to swap, sell, beg or borrow. On Sunday November 22 Boorman will
The Deus Celebrations
A limited number of tickets to the exclusive dinner with Charley on November 20 will be available. Guests will be able to mingle and even get Charley to autograph his latest book, Right to the Edge: Sydney to Tokyo By Any Means. Tickets will be available from November 2, but only by ringing 02 8594 2800 - and numbers will be very strictly limited. The event will be at the Deus Café, Parramatta Rd, Camperdown on the edge of Sydney’s CBD. On Saturday November 21, Deus has “The Innermost Limits of Puerile Fun”, including a Motorcycle Parts Swap Meet and a Deus Show & Shine, judged by Charley Boorman. Boorman’s books will also be on sale at Deus and there will be plenty of home-cooked food available and awesome motorcycles to see. For more info call 02 8594 2800. n
Boorman at the Show
Charley will be Cycle Torque’s special guest at the Sydney Bike Show, where he will be a part of the panel making a podcast in front of a live audience – it kicks off at 12.30pm on Sunday November 22, but be early, we are expecting a big crowd! Charley will be talking about his travels and books, especially the new one, Right to the Edge, and he’ll also take questions from the public. At the conclusion of the podcast Charley will be signing copies of his books, which you can purchase from the Cycle Torque stand just next to the stage!
Win tickets to the Deus Boorman dinner - see the link on www.cycletorque.com.au 8 - NOVEMBER 2009
PERFECTING THE ART OF AERODYNAMICS
Tri Composite Construction-Carbon/Kevlar/Fibreglass Soft removable/washable liner New super quick release ‘Podless’ visor mechanism Anti buffeting rear stabilizer Wing incorporating Aero Ventilation System. Anti-flap chin strap retainer Sizes: XS-XXL
NOVEMBER 2009 - 9
THAT would represent a very long dog sled and a huge Meaty Bites bill if this were the case, but it isn’t. In fact, Husqvarna is celebrating the fact there has been 25,000 bikes built under BMW ownership which started in 2007. During the ceremony, the President of Husqvarna Motorcycles Rainer Thoma declared: “I am very happy that we can celebrate another nice event just a few days after the inauguration of our new Headquarters and R&D Center. This underlines the dynamics the company is moving to. Despite 2009 being a difficult year for the whole motorcycle market, we look very positively to the future. We now have the best possible circumstances to create and to build new, attractive products at the highest level of quality and performance.” n
Team USA Wins its 20th MXoN IVAN Tedesco, Ryan Dungey and Jake Weimer have put in what would be considered a less than spectacular performance by America’s standards to clinch the 2009 Motocross of Nations with consistency and lady luck contributing to USA’s 20th win in the prestigious event. The opening MX1/MX2 moto was a battle between 2009 World MX1 Champion Antonio Cairoli (Italy - Yamaha) and the 2009 AMA Motocross Champion Chad Reed (Suzuki) with Cairoli inching away for a 1.5 second win while Reed managed to beat home the 2009 AMA Motocross Lites Champion Ryan Dungey on a Suzuki RMZ450 by 28 seconds. Unfortunately for Australia our MX2 pilot Brett Metcalfe was caught up in several first lap incidents and was only able to scramble back to 17th outright on track by race end while USA’s MX2 rider Jake Weimer managed a solid 8th and Italy’s Davide Guarneri rode hard for 16th. Moto 2 saw the MX2 and MX3 riders take to the track and this time it was France’s MX3 rider Gautier Paulin who stole the show with a wire-to-wire win well ahead of Italy’s David Philippaerts and USA’s Ivan Tedesco. France’s MX2 rider Marvin Musquin, the 2009 World MX2 Champion
10 - NOVEMBER 2009
fought up to 5th outright to put France in the lead with the one moto remaining after Weimer crashed twice for 25th. It was looking good for Australia early in the MX3/MX2 with Michael Byrne and Brett Metcalfe both inside the top ten before Byrne and Italy’s Davide Guarneri hit each other in the air causing both riders to DNF and leaving Byrne unconscious track-side. A blow for both countries leading into the final moto. The tension in the air going into the final MX1/MX3 moto was palpable but it all went pear shaped for Italy, France and Australia not far out of the gate with Cairoli being taken out in the first corner damaging his Yamaha beyond rideable while Reed and France’s Gautier Paulin both going down not long after in separate incidents thus handing USA the perfect opportunity to take the win. Out front Ryan Dungey was all class and looking like he was made for the 450cc Suzuki while Italy’s David Philippaerts decided to try and make it hard for the US by smashing his Yamaha into the side of Ivan Tedesco’s Honda causing the Yank to hit the ground hard. Philippaerts went on to take third in the moto behind Dungey and Belgian Steve Ramon while Tedesco scrambled back to
7th with Chad charging from dead last to 9th. Byrne did not start the final moto relegating Australia back to 7th. Dungey’s 3 – 1 results over his two motos gave him the overall individual rider trophy and he was obviously happy with his day’s work. “This win was at the top of my career, it’s been a dream to come here and be a part of this.” Weimer’s comments were similar. “We were laughing because this is the B-Team, so the B-team won. For sure this is right at the top of my career results. It’s crazy coming here, a lot of pressure, but we won and we get to go home and say we won it again.” USA Team Manager Roger DeCoster had the final say. “This is one of the best feelings I have had, but I also feel for Italy and France, they had crashed in that start in the last moto and it helped us. This event is amazing, really impressive. I will say, the way the events are run in Europe are a lot better than how we do it in America, we could learn from this event.” Overall Results: 1. USA - 22 points; 2. France - 30 points; 3. Belgium - 39 points; 4. Germany - 55 points; 5. Great Britain 55 points; - 6. Italy - 59 points; 7. Australia - 73 points. n
New LAMS models for Kawasaki KAWASAKI has released two new models to add to its lineup of LAMS approved bikes, the Ninja 650RL and the ER-6nL. The Ninja is available in Lime Green or Candy Plasma Blue and boasts a smooth and rider friendly 649cc engine complemented by sleek Ninja Supersport styling. Equally impressive but totally different in outlook is the ER-6nL with its 649cc parallel twin engine enclosed inside a stylish and flowing naked bike body. It is available in Candy Plasma Blue or Candy Stardust White. The DOHC engine used in both bikes is tuned to provide smooth torque delivery ideally suited for
less experienced riders and is also the most compact in its category, keeping it small, nimble and rider-friendly. The Kawasaki LAMS range also includes the top selling Ninja 250R, KLR650 and the KLX250S. For more information check out www.kawasaki. com.au. n
Laro’s Regal 250 THE new Regal 250 will be one of many motorcycles and scooters to come under the Laro brand. The bike is manufactured by Lifeng in China, a company which specialises in the production of cruiser, sport and chopper style motorcycles. The new Regal 250 offers the learner and commuter a strong 250cc liquid cooled, fourstroke parallel twin engine. It has a 14 litre fuel tank with a low seat height and weighs in at just under 180kg. Panniers, forward control and various handlebars will be offered as options, too. The Regal 250 will come with two years’ unlimited kilometre warranty and is expected to hit dealer floors by December. The special introductory price for the Regal 250 will be $4499 ride away. Contact Anthony on 02 9609 4788 or 0412 449 612 for dealer locations or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also go to www.laro.com.au. n
12 - NOVEMBER 2009
BMW goes electric
BMW has designed a concept motorcycle which is powered by electricity. It might have two wheels but there’s some car features in there as well, like the roof and seatbelt. Developed for a European motorcycle safety project, the zero-emissions C1-E concept is based on the C1 two-wheeler sold in Europe between 2000 and 2002 as the first motorbike featuring a roof as part of a protective cell. There’s also a roll-over bar to help protect the rider, and the front of the bike features an energy absorbing nose and even a windscreen. While the original C1 was propelled by small-capacity petrol engines, the E version uses an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery. BMW says a planet-friendly internal combustion engine could be used as an alternative. At this stage the C1-E is not intended to go into production. BMW Motorrad is also working on a range of other rider safety aids, including a warning system for impending dangers such as wet weather, road obstacles or approaching emergency vehicles. Assisting BMW in the European Safer Urban Motorcycling project is fellow motorbike manufacturer Piaggio. n
th e p t
NOVEMBER 2009 - 27
Reed to KawasakI
Reed on a Kawasaki in 2001.
2009 AMA Motocross Champion Chad Reed has inked a deal to race for the Monster Energy Kawasaki Race Team throughout the 2010 and 2011 seasons racing their factory KX450F in both the supercross and motocross championships. ing on board the Rockstar Suzuki RM-Z450 where he managed second in the After just one re ridyear s a pu he bike “provide es its owner a AMA Motocross Championship and wrapped up his first outdoor national championship, e and giv experienc nalisation. It’s for perso er.” will take momentum into the 2010 season. platformReed of the rid ativity great cre the to ke en totally op t it could also ma ents, urse, buat justm co of sion admy ht, “It was great Suzuki with Roger (DeCoster) Goss, mechanic, but things are tough st rig ’s lea suspen He t at theand re expensive, bu th the tools on s will make wi mo leg lot r position, in a tte e be bik the the say and this switch worked just right for me, I have already been testing with Ryan (Villapoto), to per-style riding s for g les ed e. kin ne oic loo t ch bu give a real chop yone to ine. to an y ch to eas ma e , tiv act the you’ve got the rac of mp att Iron is co are great, bere happier. ” d a Harley name on keeping with the styleGlide is a 96ci Twin Cam the bike mo the 883Dunlops end,new an easy to I couldn’t In thethe Wide sporting ability hreatening and the n-t g ine no nu rin t ge It’s we . igh Po he fun t d sea ride anReed’s d the Kawasaki aring. contract with took son he and will be Kawasaki mood tank.effect immediately sio d the place, an with tall gemounted the ts you in a good ay s, Showa suspen XR1200X V-Twin manouvre aroun it the majority of riders. ssin brakeReed a Wide Glide pu suraces the Australian aw the history with With Niseries. r SuperX to ing e, hte gh gin Rid when he has some Kawasaki, riding lig ou en d en er an ind e helps to suck low ed is gin in cyl en rienc tw y pe the ng ex ort of s bli sp les a re thm rum to in Mo d g rhy n. the suite colourspu isties. for just a solitary as the season, finishing cruisin It’s we lar with wome inllgreen to ride in the tw les while you’re rider on an it will be po in the World Motocross a fun bike Championship all of life’s troub ion. riders – I expect , I found the riding position is d than pure sportsbike, a good re fancied sit second.4cm nake of mo relaxed riding po its price at $26,495 plus on At 94kg and 17 suspension soaking up my many a punter XR will surprise nding road. It’s great value Just as relaxed is this cheap since 2001! cramped and the the potholes, so I’m not wi a up ry sn't been Smart ine ts. n ch cos tha d ma e. r ds - it–haDarren roa rid he roa to on rat s t fun plu igh it 0 we ,75 nd e but I still fou Harley fun at $16 Lo suited to the bik dictable, the performance y rley’s most Fat Bo pre pleasant. Dyna Wide Glide s been one of Ha tyres, disc Its handling is 2010 is the Wide The Fat Boy ha experience very
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MAJOR J SPONSOR:
NOVEMBER 2009 - 13
MRRDA at the Island ONCE again the junior road racers put on a magnificent show, this time at the final round of the 2009 Motorcycle Road Race Development Association (MRRDA) Championship, held at Phillip Island over the weekend of October 3-4. The closest championship, and the closest racing, was the junior four-strokes (Honda CBR150), given Australian National Cup status. A number of riders were in the mix, but you would have to say Brody Nowlan was the rider to beat during the series. His competitors for the title had it a little easier when Nowlan was unable to compete at the last round, the talented youngster being overseas – securing a berth in the 2010 Red Bull Rookies Cup. The racing was the closest ever seen in the three years of the series, each race seeing up to nine riders crossing the finish line together. In one race Stephen Craig set the fastest lap of the race, and finished ninth, showing how close it was. In the wrap up it was the much improved Daniel Falzon who won the championship, but it all came down to the last race to see who’d win the title. Second overall was Nowlan, with Kyle Buckley in third, from Ben Leonard in fourth and his brother Josh in fifth. The improvement of these riders during the series is a testament to the close racing and development the series offers. The Junior Two-Stroke National Cup saw Mitch Levy control the championship from day one, although at times he was pushed very hard and beaten by a number of riders throughout the series, once again a testament to how close the racing was. Mitch rode extremely well and finished every race he started. Levy took overall victory from Cycle Torque’s own Alex Pickett and Michael Lockhart, all riders on the venerable Moriwaki 80. Fourth was Hayden Demamiel on a Metrakit 80, while Brad Shaw (Metrakit 80) finished fifth. Brodie Thackeray took sixth, despite contesting only three of the five rounds. Zac Zanesco rode extremely well during the year on his 70cc Metrakit, giving the bigger machines a very hard time, and beating them on a number of occasions. He won convincingly from Brandon Demmery and Josh McGrath, who contested only one meeting before stepping up to the 80cc machines. 125GP was won by Jack Miller, with Jordan Zamora, Dan Harrison, Adrian Nestorovic and Phillip Paton filling out the top five. In the four stroke 250cc GP Mono class, ‘Mad’ Mike Jones proved too hard to beat. Lincoln Gilding tried hard and harried Jones in many a race. Adrian Di Giandomenico took third on his Yamaha powered OVER machine, with Cycle Torque’s Alex Pickett taking fourth, also Yamaha
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mounted. Jack VanStraalen improved incredibly during the year, but some bad luck kept the teenager pointless on a number of occasions. 250GP contested only the Phillip Island round, and wowed spectators with their speed, which was very close to the leading 600 Superstock machines. Tim Inkster won the event from Ric Steele and Tom Hatton. 600 Superstock was run at the first and final rounds. It was a Kawasaki benefit at both, with the highlight the battle between Kawasaki Connection’s Matt Walters and Graeme Morris Motorcycle’s Aaron Morris, both ZX-R mounted, at the final round. Walters won the series from, Active Cleaning’s Zach Thackeray and Morris. Terry Burns took his ageing Yamaha R6 into fourth place, himself a product of the MRRDA junior series. The largest class in the series is Formula 400. In the Pro class it was the evergreen Stephen Byrnes who smashed the opposition at every opportunity. In second it was Daniel Hallsworth, Glenn Kettle third and MRRDA founder Paul Edwards in fourth. In the Stock class it was Michael Halliday, AKA ‘Smiley’, who took the laurels from Richard Marrochini and Tim Podt. The 400s also had a State of Origin series running, with Victoria winning by a massive margin. For full results go to www.mrrda.com. – Chris Pickett
Pic by Andrew Bright
Safe hands for 25 years
RIDEWORX is celebrating the anniversary of its Barkbusters brand.
Barkbusters handguards were first manufactured in Australia in 1984. Rideworx CEO Matthew Phillpott has over 30 years experience in the motorcycle industry and his enthusiasm for riding motorcycles has helped develop the finest handguards available on the market today. The design, manufacture, research and development facility is located in Wollongong, NSW. Rideworx is dedicated to the continual improvement and development of its
product range and manufactures to the highest possible standards. The outstanding design and quality of the products manufactured by Rideworx are widely recognised. So much that they produce handguards for OEM customers both in Australia and internationally.
The business was started by Australian enduro racer, Ted Goddard (father of racing identity Peter) and was purchased in 1998 by Phillpott (also an experienced enduro and ISDE competitor with an ongoing involvement in the sport).
Phillpott had worked closely with Ted from as early as 1995 designing the first plastic guard, the BW96, which was released in 1996. Since then the focus has been on making the brand the market leader and expanding into the export market. The business has grown from a small “one-man band” to a company which now employs 12 people and exports to a long list of overseas countries including Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, UK, South Africa, Japan, USA and South America. For further information please contact: Rideworx Pty Ltd 02 4271 8244 email@example.com www.barkbusters.net n
ONCE again crowds flocked to Big Al’s Show and Shine in Western Sydney. This year was the biggest yet, over $2000 was raised for UCARF, double last year’s donation to Telstra Child Flight. Some 80 machines were on show, and over 170 people turned up for the day’s event. This year marked the sixth running of the show and shine, with Yamaha behind it all the way. Well done guys and girls. n
Big Al shines
SMALL TORQUE path in motorc ycle racing. until 2010.
VFR 1200 on t h e web
IT ’S no secret Honda is planning to release an all-new VFR1200. We’ve all seen spy shots and ar tist ’s render ings. Now you can go to a dedicated website which gives you all the goss on the bike, including a r ide impression. G o to w w w.new vfr.com/en_GB/ pages/mainpage and check it out We can’t wait to r ide one here at Cycle Torque.
Red B ull R ook i es
2009 saw three young talented Australian road racers head overseas to compete in the R ed Bull R ook ies Cup. D ylan M avin, Ar thur Sissis and Josh Hook all did their best to forge their own
Af ter t wo years competing in Europe, M avin looks set to stay at home in Australia in 2010. Sissis and Hook will be back to Europe, joined by Brody Nowlan who recently tr ied out and was accepted by R ed Bull and K TM to compete in the cup. This is a great effor t for the teenagers and their parents, as it represents a major investment for them to just get there. On behalf of Cycle Torque, well done.
Ride now p ay later
FR ASER M otorc ycles is offer ing fantastic deals on 2008 and 2009 model D ucati and Har leyDavidson motorc ycles. You can r ide away now, and pay nothing
All five Fraser ’s stores are par t of the offer. Visit the Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, M elbour ne or Per th stores to get your slice of the ac tion.
Race to SA
GE T your gear on and head over to M allala for the S outh Australian R oad R acing Championships on the weekend of November 21-22. The event is being run by the Pheonix M otorc ycle Club and will feature classes ranging from juniors to Produc tion Super bikes and H istor ics. For more info contac t R ock D owsett on 0403 386 788. n
NOVEMBER 2009 - 15
Farewell Mat, Welcome back Case
MAT Mladin has finally pulled up stumps after clinching his seventh AMA Superbike title, a record that is very unlikely to be bettered. That’s not forgetting his record of 75 career wins, 50 poles and record 11 victories in one season. Mladin and his mainly Aussie crew have been a juggernaut since they went stateside in 1996. He has swept all rivals aside, except for Ben Spies, on his way to becoming the most successful rider in American race history. As Mat departed the scene, his nemesis Spies found himself with a very good ride in MotoGP. After
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DMG took control over AMA racing for 2009, Spies started looking towards Europe, and the two-time AMA champ was quickly snapped by Yamaha Italia. And that’s the difference between Ben and Mat’s attitude to Europe. Spies and his management actively courted interest in WSBK while Mladin never seriously sought out a ride in Europe post-1993. He often said that he would only go for the ‘right bike/ team package, right deal’. Reportedly earning over $5 million for the past five seasons in AMA, there is no WSBK team that could’ve matched that sort of money
anyway. Off the bike, a lot of Mat’s success came down to his raw aggression, fierce intelligence and sensitivity to any comment from his rivals that he had the best equipment. Whether by design or not, Mladin developed fierce rivalries with Miguel DuHamel, Eric Bostrom, Ben Bostrom, Anthony Gobert, Jamie Hacking, Kurtis Roberts, John Kocinski, Nicky Hayden and Ben Spies. Most riders would find waging a war of words as intensely as Mat did both draining and risky, but he seemed to enjoy and sometimes revel in the verbal argy bargy, but it is important to note that several years ago Mladin suffered the effects of a fatigue syndrome. Spies was recently asked what he had learned in his first year away from AMA and Mladin, and he said, “I’ve learned that you don’t have to hate someone to beat them.” Maybe Mat didn’t really hate anyone, but he certainly took a dislike to a rider who was moving in on his number one status, or whom denigrated his achievements. I have seen both Mladin and Chad Reed compete in America, and I walked away with enormous respect for both men who rose to the challenge of competing in the toughest neighbourhood there is. They took on the heavies,
gave as good as they got and then some, defined their own style off and on the bike and more often than not came up trumps. The only question mark over Mladin’s career is how well he would’ve done if given another chance. For journalists, it is a question that could fill several columns, but for the man himself, I don’t think he would ever give it too much thought in his retirement that he so richly deserves. While Mladin was signing off at age 37, Casey Stoner’s career at 23 was in some sort of abeyance after he took off three races due to a mystery condition that was affecting his physical stamina. It was an unprecedented move, one that caused much wild speculation and a $14 million bid by Ducati for the services of Jorge Lorenzo, apparently to replace Nicky Hayden. It all came to a head at Catalunya, where Stoner wilted in the final stages of the dramatic GP won by Valentino Rossi from Lorenzo in a last corner thriller. Casey had set the fastest lap of the race early on, and in the proceeding GPs, it was the same story – fast lap times, but a worrying lack of endurance to see out a 45 minute GP at the front. It’s not the first time Stoner had suffered physically. If you cast your mind back to the 2007 Malaysian GP
sey run in extreme heat and humidity, Stoner won the race from newlysigned team-mate for 2008 Marco Melandri and was pushed all the way doing so. On the top step Casey looked pale, sweat dripped off the point of his nose as he hung his head in exhaustion, and looked slightly unsteady on his feet. Since then, any advantage the Ducati Desmosedici enjoyed in top-speed, superior electronics and Bridgestone tyres has been wiped out. Indeed, for over a year, the Yamaha M1 has been the overall package in the MotoGP paddock, something that became quite apparent to me when I watched several practice sessions at Phillip Island in 2008. Casey has been forced to ride the Ducati to its absolute limit, much harder than he ever has, and in addition to whatever physical ailments he might be suffering, it’s all taken a huge toll. It’s very difficult to quantify the incremental physical effort that Casey has been forced to put in this year over and above 2007-08, and over Lorenzo, Rossi and Dani Pedrosa, but let’s say it’s 10-15
percent. It would be very interesting to the respective heart-rates, and blood pressure and VO2 readings of all four riders before, during and after each race. In a recent
conversation with world endurance racer Alex Cudlin, he revealed his friendship with Casey that goes back to their early dirt-track days. He recalled the first time Casey
rode a Moriwaki 80 in the late ‘90s at a go-kart track on the NSW north coast. Alex and older brother Damian had been fanging around on the tiddler racers for a while, but Casey blew them away. By the end of the weekend, he was lapping faster than both of them with the potential to go much, much quicker. “I knew then that Casey was the fastest rider I have ever seen,” Alex said. With Chris Vermeulen heading back to WSBK, Stoner remains Australia’s only representative in MotoGP, with no heir apparent on the horizon in any of the GP classes. Watching Casey’s return at Estoril, it was clear that he was very happy being back doing what he does best. Here’s hoping he stays that happy and that fast for years to come. – Darryl Flack
NOVEMBER 2009 - 17
INFORMATION FROM OUR ADVERTISERS 2
AUSTRALIAN Motorcycle Components has a new range of screens from Zero Gravity, called the Corsa. Not your usual double bubble style, the Corsa features a GP inspired single bubble for greater rider protection. Available for a huge range of sportsbikes, in light or dark smoke. Special colours on order. Price: $153 Avail able from: Good bike shops or call AMC direct on 07 5451 8733. More info: www.amcmotorcycles.com. 2
THE Hell Team is now the exclusive suppliers of Omega Design Products in Australia. One of their products is the Xstrap which uses a unique retractable ratchet system to keep your motorcycle in place on the trailer. Easy to use and easy to release. Price: $39 Avail able from: Online from The Hell Team. More info: www.thehellteam.com, or 02 9966 5562.
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TRIUMPH’S riding gear range includes the ‘Balham’ leather jacket. While it’s primarily a riding jacket, you can easily remove the CE and still look cool off the bike. You can even fit the optional neck warmer if it gets a little too cool. Price: $495 Avail able from: Triumph dealers Australia wide. More info: www.triumphmotorcycles.com.au. If MOTORCYCLING is part of your life you can keep your motorcycle memories alive with Motorcycle Planner. It’s an organiser divided into four main sections: key information, maintenance and service log, trip diary and address/phone book. It has many other useful tools like trip notes, checklists etc. It can keep all your motorcycle memories in one place as well as tracking maintenance, parts, repairs etc. And you can archive all your old notes and files too. Price: $US84.99 Avail able from: www.motorcycleplanner.com More info: www.motorcycleplanner.com
RIDER Industries have launched Australia’s very own Motocross Streetwear Collection. Stunning designs also for men, women and girls available from this new company based on the Central Coast of NSW. Stay tuned for sponsorship announcements for talented young riders soon. Price: Normally $44.95 (Cycle Torque readers $40) Avail able from: www.riderindustries.com More info: 0402 627 906 ADVENTURE bikes can generate a lot of mud and what not, collecting itself around the tail of your otherwise clean machine. This is where the Mudslinger from Machineartmoto comes in handy. it’s easy to fit and is designed to keep above said dirty stuff away from your machine. Price: $245 Avail able from: Exclusive to Motohansa More info: www.motohansa.com.au
Shiny new Shoei
To the wire
SHOEI’S new XR1100 carries the prestigious Snell M2010 approval rating. It has six layers of laminated high strength fibres, vast improvements in ventilation, four individual shell sizes, dual density channelled EPS liner for superior impact protection, self-adjusting 100 per cent UVA and UVB protected and optically correct CW-1 visor, with Pinlock pins and increased vertical and peripheral vision. Price: $799.90 for solid metallic colours, $899.90 for graphics. Avail able from: Good bike shops. More info: www.mcleodaccessories.com.au SPYKE’S Wire 2-piece leather suit is made from full-grain cow leather, and boasts features such as removable armour, loads of ventilation and stretch fabric in strategic areas to improve comfort. Available in many sizes, and gents and ladies cuts. Price: $1399 Avail able from: Leading motorcycle stores. More info: www.nfimporters.com.au
NOVEMBER 2009 - 19
Divert the dust
WE’VE had on test a couple of sets of Progrip goggles recently. Trail riding, photo shoots, MX tests, they’ve done it all. We all know how quick goggles can fog up when you are stationary. Well, our Progrip goggles don’t. On top of that, they are light sensitive: clear when it’s darker and tinted when it’s sunny. This makes riding through all sorts of terrain a breeze, especially in dodgy conditions. There’s provision for tear-offs and the fit is great, with a nice thick padded area to seal the dust from your eyes. Price: $89.95 Avail able from: Good motorcycle stores. More info: www.jtr.com.au, or 07 3245 7499.
Tail of the Scorpion
OUR long-term BMW R 1200 GS has just returned from a 2000 kilometre journey through the south coast of NSW, up in to the Snowy Mountains and home via Jenolan Caves. Along the way we sampled stretches of freeway, sections of dirt and plenty of corners. Fitted to the trusty Bee Emm were a set of the new Pirelli Scorpion Trails. We are no strangers to Pirelli’s Scorpion adventure tyres, running them on our now-departed KTM 990 Adventure, but the new tyres are a step ahead of the old. Not only did they perform well in the dirt, they handled our boy racer shenanigans as well, providing grip levels that tyres of this nature have no business doing. Not only that, they look as though they will last into five digit mileage figures as well. Price: Front tyres start from $205 Avail able from: Pirelli stockists Australia wide More info: www.linkint.com.au
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A law unto themselves
BY THE time you read this the 2009 NRL finals are done and dusted and despite the fantastic football played you would have to be a complete idiot to think that the number one footy code North of Victoria isn’t in more shit than Moby Dick. But, unlike the powers that be in motorcycle racing, the NRL are soft when it comes to dealing with people who break the rules. Let’s face it. In principle, across the board, bar some exceptions, rugby league players are dead set losers! For decades rugby league players have been pests to society, yet rarely do they cop what they deserve as far as punishment goes once the NRL or even the police for that matter are involved. Gang rapes, glassings of girlfriends, king hits, bashings, sex in toilets, harassment, drunken brawls, drunken vandalism… the list goes on, you pick any form of anti-social behaviour and a league player has committed it… but rarely have they been charged, had their career severely affected or lost the backing of his mates or club. Just recently, South Sydney coach Jason Taylor was knocked out by a punch to the head on Mad Monday by one of his players. Could you imagine the fallout if Cheyne Boyd knocked Craig Dack out during post race celebratory drinks? For one, he would never ride for Dacka again and most of the other teams would snub him as well… it would basically be the end of his career. I’ll tell you this for nothing. If one my fellow motocross mates raped a girl, or glassed her, or king hit another competitor, he would no longer be my mate and I am sure the rest of the motocross fraternity and industry would follow suit. It is just not acceptable behaviour. It’s a fact, in the motocross world things are a little different. OK, professional motocross racers are
not in the media spotlight like league players are, but we in the motorcycling fraternity and the governing bodies have our own code of conduct and we have never tolerated major anti-social behaviour from our professional racers – on or off the track. Take a look at American motocross and supercross racer Jason Lawrence for instance. ‘J-Law’ has been the bad boy of the AMA scene over the last few years and because of his behaviour he has been banned from racing several times over. In fact, after an altercation with fellow Yamaha rider Broc Hepler at the Jacksonville round of the 2009 AMA Supercross Championship, Lawrence was immediately suspended for the rest of the supercross season. Bottom line is this. J-Law is an idiot and it’s not tolerated. Motocross and supercross are dangerous sports, so is rugby league, there is no room for dickheads who put others at risk, be it on the field, on the track, or not. I recently watched a group of school aged league players bashing each other on TV. Two players held another while their mate knocked the held player out and to rub it in they high fived each other after the fallen player didn’t get up. Motocrossers are among the toughest men I have ever met, yet we show our toughness by overcoming the pain of crashing, long motos, hard charging through the pack, rocks hitting fingers, bar-to-bar fighting for every inch of terrain available to us. Overcoming adversity, tenacity, physical fitness, race related aggression and bravery are the traits we admire in our professional racers. Sure, there are times we bang into each other but I can tell you in four decades of racing I have never hit another rider with the intention of hurting him (or her), it was to get
by and move on in the safest way possible but sometimes a bit of ‘argy bargy’ is necessary. And as far as physical violence? Bar punching one flat tracker who attacked me after a race in 1988, I have had nothing more than a few verbal confrontations after thousands of hours of racing and hundreds of heated battles on the track. It’s just not accepted in our sport. Footballers on the other hand are taught at a young age that to be tough you need to be able to fight. That’s right, you go to any junior league game and you will hear the mothers and fathers telling little Johnny to ‘knock their bloody heads off’ or ‘smash em’. Lovely isn’t it? The bottom line is this. We do have hot heads in our sport. We occasionally see a couple of racers wrestling or throwing a few punches after a race but they usually have all of their gear on so they aren’t doing too much damage and they are jumped on quickly by their peers and the authorities. Other than a few adrenalin generated confrontations, we just know what is right and wrong. Footballers of all ages and codes could take a lot away from watching the way our professional racers behave on and off the track. For that alone it makes me proud to be part of our great sport and I hope that the tradition of fair sportsmanship and hard racing continues for many more decades. – Darren Smart
NOVEMBER 2009 - 21
MAJOR EVENTS ALL THE
MUST SEE EVENTS BROUGHT TO YOU BY
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N OV E M B E R
2009 NSW Pink Ribbon Ride
WHEN: November 1, 2009 WHERE: The route is yet to be determined but will be kicking off from the Marconi Plaza at Bossley Park in Sydney. WHAT: The annual Pink Ribbon Ride brings together the NSW motorcycling community to show support and raise funds for research into the prevention and cure of breast cancer. CONTACT: www.pinkribbonride.com
Wodonga Lions Club Motorbike Show and Shine
WHEN: Novermber 1, 2009 WHERE: Lincoln Causeway, Wodonga WHAT: Trade stalls, live music, trick bikes, trophies. Sounds good, be there! Adults $5, kids under 12 free (with adult). CONTACT: www. motorbikeshowandshine.com.
22nd Canberra Swap meet
WHEN: November 1, 2009 WHERE: Exhibition Park, ACT. WHAT: $10 outdoor site/$15 indoor site. Entry $3 adults/$0 children under 12 years. Vendors set up from 12.30pm Saturday 31st Oct, or 6am Sunday. Gates open to public 7am. Free parking. CONTACT: VVCMCC PO Box 3127 Manuka ACT 2603 email committee@ vvcmcc.org.
19th Annual Harley-Davidson Owners Group (H.O.G.) Rally
WHEN: November 6-8, 2009 WHERE: Launceston, Tasmania WHAT: This year however, for the first time in history, the event is open to nonHarley riding motorcylists and there is a host of first-rate entertainment including performances by Jimmy Barnes and Lowrider and true Harley style events such as the infamous Thunder Run and Tattoo competition. CONTACT: www. australiannationalrally.com.
Boyanup Vintage Bike Show & Swap Meet
WHEN: November 7th 2009 WHERE: Boyanup Hall, South West Hwy, Boyanup WA WHAT: Motorcycle Show & Swap Meet from 9am to 5pm with trade displays,
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refreshments, & entertainment. Plenty of motorcycles will be competing from Veterans to 25 years ago, and there will be a colouring in competition for the kids. All proceeds to “Cure for Life Foundation” advancing brain tumour research & treatment. “Alcohol Free Event” CONTACT: Sharon 0429 418 854 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bathurst Swap Meet
WHEN: February 7, 2010 WHERE: Bathurst Showground. WHAT: One day only swap meet. Gates open 6am, entry $3 per person. Outdoor sites free, indoor sites (by prior arrangement) $25.00 per day. Set up from 3.00pm on Saturday, there will be no access to showground prior to this time. Camping $10 per night unpowered, $15.00 per night powered. Catering from 6am. Run by the Bathurst Historic Car Club. CONTACT: Mick Hope 0408 415 525 or 02 6337 5694; Norm Rutherford 02 6337 1770.
Larry the Lizard’s Bike Show
WHEN: Novermber 14, 2009 WHERE: Coonabarabran Showground, NSW. WHAT: Show commences 11am, presentations 4pm, finishing very late. One-off trophies; heaps of categories. Live entertainment, bands, bar, food, stalls, prizes, promotions, courtesy bus, camping facilities, powered sites, hot showers, toilets. CONTACT: Independent Riders Association Bruce Simons 02 6562 4323.
Little Folks Poker Run & Rolling Bike Show
WHEN: November 21, 2009 WHERE: Goombungee Showground, Qld. WHAT: $10 registration which includes entry to the Rolling Bike show. $500 best hand/$100 worst hand. Heaps of other prizes. Show commences 11am, presentations 4pm, finishing very late. One-off trophies; heaps of categories. Live entertainment, bands, bar, food, stalls, prizes, promotions, courtesy bus, camping facilities, powered sites, hot showers, toilets. CONTACT: Independent Riders
Association Bruce Simons 02 6562 4323.
Bombala Bike Show
WHEN: November 21, 2009 WHERE: Bombala Showground, NSW south coast WHAT: Trade stalls, bike show, swap meet, live music, free on-site camping, bar. Sounds good to us. CONTACT: Rick Ingram on 0419 622 599.
South Australia Junior Road Race Championships
WHEN: November 21-22, 2009 WHERE: Mallala WHAT: Everything from the little 70cc rockets with 9-13-year-olds to Superbikes. CONTACT: Rock Dowsett, Pheonix Motorcycle Club of SA, 0403 386 788.
Moto Trials Extravaganza
WHEN: November 22, 2009 WHERE: Oakleigh Motorcycle Club, Simpsons Rd, Clayton. WHAT: See Australia’s top ‘Feet Up’ riders. Trials riders tackling giant man made obstacles. See the best riders take on the huge Splat Wall, Experts, Classic twin-shocks, Women, Juniors and sidecars. Test a trials bike, new & used bikes for sale, clothing and accesories. Action starts 10.00am, gates open 9.00am, gold coin entry. CONTACT: Rob 9553 4246 or Mark 0414 512861.
WHEN: Sunday, November 29, 2009 WHERE: Speers Point Park, Lake Macquarie NSW. WHAT: Norton twins and singles. Come and have a look at the bikes on display at the Norton day. Show and shine, food and drinks available. Eneter your bike or just come for a look. Great fun to be had. CONTACT: John Oirbans, 0419 413 717.
Australian Superbike Championships WHEN: November 27-29, 2009 WHERE: Phillip Island WHAT: The final round of the championship heads to PI. It’s a close run battle in most of the classes, and the racing should be as spectacular as always, especially at this special track. CONTACT: www.asbk.com.au
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Cycle Torque Launch Report – 2010 Harley-Davidsons
e u l a v g Ho TEST BY
ome s g n i r e f f o s i n idso v a D y e l r a H , 0 1 For 20 … kes i b g n i t a e b C GF
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GOOD bikes at good prices – that’s the formula for the additions to Harley’s range for 2010, as the giant American motorcycle manufacturer responds to the Global Financial Crisis. Five new machines join the range for 2010 – the 883 Iron, the Dyna Wide Glide, the XR1200R, the Fat Boy Lo and the Electra Glide Ultra Limited. We were able to ride the first four at the launch, unfortunately there wasn’t an Electra Glide Ultra Limited available, hopefully Cycle Torque can test that model at a later date. Possibly with the exception of the XR1200R - which at $16,750 isn’t expensive anyway - all the new 2010 models are priced keenly, reflecting the troubles Harley has been having at home where sales have plummeted and spending on high-priced items has slowed considerably. The problem wasn’t caused by Harley and all bike manufacturers have been affected, but whatever the cause, it’s inspired Harley to develop more affordable machines for 2010, and that’s got to be a good thing…
I really don’t like the name of this bike – the Iron 883 makes me immediately think Harley’s gone back to its roots and started building engines from cast iron again, which would be a huge mistake – but the name does evoke strength. The name aside, this entry-level (into the Harley range, its engine capacity is too high for it to be Learner Approved) machine offers the Hog experience for under 12 Grand. That’s why we put the bike on the cover
– you can get into a Harley without breaking the bank. Don’t expect too many features though: this is pretty basic stuff for the 21st century – two wheels with an engine in the middle. There’s little there which isn’t essential, and what’s there is only fancy because it came from Harley (although the innovative tail and brake lights, being built-in to the indicator stems, are something very new). Harley’s 883 Sportster engine provides the motive power – fuel injected these days, but essentially unchanged for decades. It’s slung in a rubber-mounted frame to reduce the vibes of the 45-degree twin. Final drive is by carbon-reinforced belt, another Harley standard these days. A 19-inch front wheel rolls at the front on non-adjustable conventional forks while a 16-inch rear is kept on the ground by a pair of spring/damper type shocks. In standard trim there’s no pillion seat, but that can be fixed with a trip to the extensive Harley accessory catalogue. Indeed, Harley’s Adrian O’Donoughue says the bike “provides a pure riding experience and gives its owner a platform for personalisation. It’s totally open to the creativity of the rider.” He’s right, of course, but it could also make the bike a lot more expensive, but at least you’ve got the choice. In the end, the 883 Iron is compact, easy to ride and fun. It’s non-threatening and easy to manouvre around the place, and the seat height is low enough to suit the majority of riders. It’s well suited to less experienced and lighter riders – I expect it will be popular
with women. At 94kg and 174cm, I found the riding position cramped and the suspension soaking up my weight rather than the potholes, so I’m not suited to the bike but I still found it fun to ride. Its handling is predictable, the performance moderate but fun, the experience very pleasant. For someone who finds the bigger Harleys intimidating, an Iron 883 could be just the machine. If you’re bigger, heavier and more experienced, you might want to keep saving – but not too much, the XR1200X could be the go…
Cycle Torque’s Chris Pickett tested the XR1200 in the June 2009 issue and found the bike to be good fun, but he was critical of the suspension: underdamped and needed reworking. Somebody at Harley must have thought the same thing, because this model not only has better suspension than the stock XR1200, it has fully adjustable suspension. On a one day launch with four models to ride I wasn’t about to get too adventurous with the tools on the suspension adjustments, but needless to say the better legs will make the bike more attractive to anyone looking for genuine sporting ability and a Harley name on the tank. With Nissin brakes, Showa suspension and the rumbling twin cylinder engine, the XR1200X is a fun bike to ride in the twisties. More sporty naked than pure sportsbike, a good rider on an XR will surprise many a punter of more fancied
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e u l a v g Ho RIDING GEAR: Vemar helmet, Spyke jacket, Joe Rocket pants, Tourmaster gloves
Adjustable rear suspension on the XR1200X. machinery up a winding road. It’s great value Harley fun at $16,750 plus on road costs.
Dyna Wide Glide
Front brake on the Iron is basic.
Returning to the line-up for 2010 is the Wide Glide. This is a model name with a long history at Harley-Davidson, evoking a long, low, factory-built chopper style machine. Choppers are, of course, extremely popular these days, partly because of the various TV shows depicting the building of one-off custom creations, but these are usually expensive, uncomfortable showpieces rather than motorcycles to rack up the miles. This is where the Wide Glide comes in. I wasn’t expecting comfort, because the very low seat dictates short-travel suspension, but Harley’s done a great job at building suspension which absorbs most bumps and a well padded seat, so the Wide Glide is comfortable on reasonable roads. The raked-out front end and 21-inch front wheel combine with the forward foot controls to give a real chopper-style riding position, in keeping with the style of the machine. Powering the Wide Glide is a 96ci Twin Cam V-Twin with tall gearing. Riding a Wide Glide puts you in a good mood as the rhythm of the engine helps to suck away all of life’s troubles while you’re cruising in a relaxed riding position. Just as relaxed is its price at $26,495 plus on roads - it hasn’t been this cheap since 2001!
Fat Boy Lo
Optional screen on the Wide Glide.
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The Fat Boy has been one of Harley’s most successful models,
Belt drive lasts for eons.
Minimalist styling on the Fatboy.
Twin-Cam engine is big on torque.
ever. With its fat tyres, disc wheels, fat tank, bobbed guards and distinctive lines, it is to many people the quintessential Harley. Those features combine with the lowest seat on any 2010-model Harley to become the Fat Boy Lo. Modifications to the suspension have dropped the seat height to 61.6cm, while the seat itself is narrower than on the standard Fat Boy, so nearly everyone can get their feet on the ground, and the handlebars are narrower than the Fat Boy’s too, making the bike feel a little more compact overall. I haven’t ridden a Fat Boy in a long, long time, so I can’t make any direct comparison with the standard model, but I was impressed by the Fat Boy Lo. Despite being so low, it wasn’t uncomfortable for my tall frame. Despite having lowered suspension, it didn’t scrape at every corner, just most of them. Despite the short travel suspension and fat tyres, it didn’t wallow through every sweeper - indeed, it handled predictably and comfortably. The 96ci engine powering the Fat Boy Lo suits the character of the machine. Peak torque is at 3000rpm and the transmission has a relaxing 6-speeds to choose from. The 2010 Fat Boy Lo is equipped with 17-inch wheels running a fat 140-section front tyre and massive 200-section rear. The paint is Denim Black highlighted by chrome features and it looks tough without being threatening. This is the best Softail I’ve ever ridden. How much different it is to other recent model Softails I can’t say, but despite having
ridden many Harleys in recent years, none have been Softails – I’m impressed with the improvement. The Fat Boy Lo was easily my favourite of the launch. It suits my preferences when it comes to cruising in the way it rides, it looks simply horn and handled better than I expected. Somehow Harley has also been able to build it cheaper than the stock Fat Boy. The Lo, at $27,995 plus on roads, is almost two grand cheaper than the standard Fat Boy. n
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Cycle Torque Launch Report â€“ Triumph Thunderbird TEST BY
RIDING GEAR: Vemar helmet, Spyke jacket, Spyke gloves, MC Performance jeans, Diadora boots.
Triumph likes to forge its own path, and its new 1600cc Thunderbird is no exception
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ing in a parallel world
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Cruising in a parallel world TRIUMPH’S new Thunderbird cruiser brings to the table an engine format of a scale not seen before on a motorcycle. Triumph not only managed to create a pearler of an engine, it also managed to surround the engine with a chassis that is very capable. We all knew Triumph would enter the big-bore twin-cylinder cruiser market at some stage. But like so many of its bikes, Triumph looked to do things a little differently when it did enter such a market. Is 1600cc of vertical twin different enough for you? The Thunderbird had been on the drawing board for some time, hinting that the engineers and design staff wanted to get it right before releasing the bike to the public. From our day and a half spent riding the Thunderbird through the hills of Northern NSW, we can tell you they must know their job well.
fire up. The 103.8mm pistons slide up and down the cylinders which are integrally cast into the crankcases. Triumph continues to use the wet liner system, so don’t worry, these items are easy to change if they ever need to be. It might be timely to mention you can purchase a factory big bore kit for the Thunderbird, taking capacity to 1700cc, increasing power by 15hp and torque by 14Nm; kit retails for $1195 and comes with a special ‘104 Cubic Inches’ cover for the engine. There’s a host of other technical gadgets and trickery inside the engine, such as the twin balance shafts and crank-mounted torsional damper for smoother clutch and gearbox actuation. If the idea was to make the engine and six-speed ’box a big smoothy, then the idea was right. Plenty of thought even went into making the engine as quiet as possible by having special oil galleries close to the crankcase walls to dampen engine noise. Engineering Drive to the rear wheel is by belt, the The main point of difference between the first seen on a Triumph since the 1920s. Thunderbird and most other cruisers is the parallel twin cylinder engine, designated the How can this cope with the power and torque of such a huge engine, we hear you T-16. It displaces 1600cc, and produces 85 horsepower and 146 Nm of torque. We were ask? Well, Triumph says it will last for the life of the bike, unless of course a big stone lucky enough to have Triumph technical or the like gets in there to damage it. guru Cliff Stovall strip down an engine for Another interesting point is the fuel us, right down to splitting the crankcases. injection system which is specially This is one seriously engineered engine, designed to cope with crap fuel. Even if obviously built to last well into old age if you have to put some dodgy 88 octane you go by the size of the crank. We’ve been fuel in the tank, the Thunderbird will lucky, or unlucky, to have delved into the heart of many a motorcycle engine, and this cruise happily along. You might suffer a would have to be one of, if not the, strongest slight drop in grunt but the engine won’t one we’ve seen. It’s almost like a car engine be pinging to death either. Triumph also says this system helps the Thunderbird inside. achieve much better fuel consumption Starting from the head down, there’s than its rivals. We can’t guarantee four valves per cylinder, helped in this is the case but it seems unlikely their operation by a specially designed Triumph would trot this info out without automatic decompressing system which exhaustive testing to prove the point. helps turn the big pistons over until they
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Surrounding the engine is a tubular steel chassis which uses the engine as a stressed member. Shock absorption is taken care of by beefy 47mm Showa forks which have 120mm of travel. Twin shocks do likewise at the rear but cope with only 98mm of travel. Now, the Thunderbird weighs in at 339kg with a full tank of fuel, and is capable of cracking along at a decent pace. So, it’s lucky there’s some pretty potent brakes to slow up all this energy. Nissin four-piston calipers grab twin 310mm discs at the bow, and a single Brembo twin-piston caliper does duty with a 310mm disc at the rear: ABS is a feature also. Metzler was brought on board for the tyres, a 120/70 R19 on the front, and a specially designed 200/50 R17 at the potent end of the bike. To keep the rider’s brain active while meandering along the highways and byways is a well equipped dash, something not always seen on cruisers. It’s quite a pretty dash too, the speedo and tacho needles sort of oppose each other in their journeys, but there’s dual trip meters, fuel gauge, range-to-empty and clock, easily scrolled through via a handlebar-mounted switch. There’s a plethora of warning lights to keep you informed as well. Styling-wise the bike looks both familiar and not. Realistically, unless you create a way out machine, many cruisers can look similar. The engine layout makes the Thunderbird different to look at straight away but some of the details, like the sidecovers for example, look right out of the ’80s. Generally it’s pleasing on the eyes. For us, it was points like the twin exhausts, trick wheels and the custom style headlight which we liked.
S p e c i f i c at i o n s : 2009 Triumph Thunderbird Engine Type: Liquid-cooled vertical twin Capacity: 1600cc Transmission: Six speed/belt drive Fuel Capacity: 22 Litres Frame Type: Tubular steel Seat Height: 700 Wet Weight: 339kg Front Suspension: 47mm Showa telescopic Rear Suspension: Twin shocks Brakes: 2 x 310mm discs with 4-piston calipers/ Single 310mm disc Tyres: 120/70-19, 200/50-17 Price (RRP): $20,990 + ORC Call for a quote today Your Motorcycle free CALL
1 800 24 34 64
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Cruising in a parallel world Accessories
There’s a huge array of factory accessories to bolt on. You can spec it out as a custom or a tourer, depending on what you put on. There’s everything from a headlight cowl or a quick release screen to a sissy bar and loads of chrome bits and bobs. In fact, there are over 100 accessories available. Just as a side, Triumph also has a massive range of clothing available too. Its 2010 range of riding gear, T-shirts, touring gear, leather jackets etc is substantial and very reasonably priced.
On the road again
Our first taste of the Thunderbird in motion was negotiating a number of smallish roundabouts. Instantly we were surprised at the low centre of gravity. It was easy to tip the bike over, and the riding position felt about right for this type of bike. Every control was an easy reach. Even though the Thunderbird is a big and heavy machine, it will be a snack to ride at slow speeds in traffic. Out on the open road the engine shows its flexible nature. Sixth gear really is an overdrive and many a time we found ourselves cruising along with no idea what gear we were in, such was the amount of torque on tap. As we blasted up into the mountains two of the regular cruiser maladies reared their heads every now and then. One was a lack of ground clearance, the other a lack of bump absorption from the rear shocks when encountering sharp hits. Neither was an issue for major complaint, and if you want heaps of ground clearance from your bike, don’t buy a cruiser, any cruiser. We constantly got the impression you could ride the Thunderbird much, much faster through the bends than the footpeg ground clearance allowed. The designers obviously got the chassis spot on, but would have been somewhat dictated to by the regular cruiser riding position deemed a necessity. The style and riding position also dictates to an extent the rear shocks. There were a few times when the need to test the brakes were deemed necessary. They pull this bike up very well, with a near perfect combination of initial bite, power and feel. The weight of the bike and the way it’s distributed allows both front and rear brakes to be used to great effect. Power-wise there’s plenty of it on tap. 85hp might not sound like a lot but with so much torque available it’s almost irrelevant.
Engine packs some serious hardware.
Plenty of info packed into a small space.
Massive pistons hide inside those barrels. Also note how the header pipes do a great job of hiding the radiator.
The last word
Triumph has targeted the Thunderbird somewhere between the custom and light touring section of the cruiser market. In many ways you could also call it a sporting cruiser, such is its ability to be successfully pushed hard. Triumph has entered the heavyweight section of the twin cylinder cruiser market, aiming to smash the opposition in the first round. It might not do that, but the fight would be a close points decision at the end. n
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Even the brake calipers are designed for style.
Cycle Torque Test: 2010 KTM EXC 4-Stroke Range KTM claims to be ‘The off-road market leader’, and it’s hard to argue with its own marketing spin after sampling the 2010 4-Stroke EXC Enduro range in Western Australia recently.
All Class TEST BY
KTM’s four enduro competition 4-Strokes comprise the most comprehensive range of any marque worldwide with the 250 EXC-F, the 400, 450 and 530 EXC models ready and waiting for their new owners. And when a brand new bike off the showroom floor has machined hubs, wave discs, a hydraulic clutch, Brembo brakes, Inmoulded radiator shrouds, no-tool airbox, tapered bars, CMC triple clamps, electric start and a factory exhaust you have to expect something special. Add the fact that for 2010 all of the EXCs get new settings for both front and rear suspension, with the rear shock getting a new PDS needle to allow the damping to come in a little earlier for a more progressive feel through the stroke. Likewise, all of the 2010 EXCs have a lighter and more compact caliper bolted to the bottom of the fork leg while new Toyo B153 brake pads are slotted in to give better performance all round. The 400, 450 and 530 get a revised chassis and a six-speed gear box while all 4-Strokes get new Nitrated steel rings, updated cam
shafts, valve train and piston.
My first ride on the 250 EXC-F was nothing short of sensational. The terrain was challenging at times with everything from open trail to snotty, tree infested single track and the smallest of KTM’s four bangers was a delight in every way. Power wise it is extremely smooth when transitioning from no throttle to easing it on in slippery conditions, but when you decide to give it the berries it has enough punch and revability to get you to that next corner up that next hill as fast as most would care for. The new brakes were great, forks and shock were faultless so you could be really aggressive through the rough stuff without too much sideways deflecting in the rear and no head-shake from the front. The bike felt light in the tight stuff and handled the open road stuff with ease.
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Hmmm…I wasn’t too sure why KTM would bring out the 400 and the 450. Now I know. The 400 is for the rider who would find the 450 and/or the 530 intimidating and let’s face it, once you have your open motorcycle licence most wouldn’t think of buying a 250 so the 400 is perfect for that ‘next step’. The 2010 KTM 400 EXC handles great, it does everything you would want it to do without scaring the pants off you and remains one of the easiest bikes to ride in almost any situation. With all of the upgrades the new KTMs have received, the 400 ended up to be the best all-round package for the average rider.
Now we are getting somewhere. As a former Pro motocrosser I couldn’t wait to get on the big bore KTMs. After 300km of riding all of the smaller bikes I was interested to see if more power would change the handling capabilities of the ‘faster’ KTMs. After 10 minutes of playing around on the 450 I decided to
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push it really hard through the next sections of trail and was instantly impressed. The 450cc motor is so usable. If you decide to let it hit maximum power it goes like a cut cat but still handles great. Many bikes lose some of their stability when full horsepower is drilled into them and this KTM isn’t one of them. Even around a motocross track I found the 450 more than capable with the suspension pliable early in the stroke but firming up nicely to absorb Manjimup’s famous sand whoops. Again, with all of the upgrades the 2010 KTM 450 is a winner and it was difficult giving it back after an hour or so in the saddle but I was all smiles when I noticed that my next ride was on the 530…
The first thing any man worth his salt does when he gets aboard a big bore four stroke is to see how good it is to wheelie… third gear, standing up and don’t put it down until
you’re in top gear and the front wheel is just rolling around its final rotation. That’s what life is all about. The KTM 530 was a blast. OK, more of a handful it must be said, obviously amplified in the tighter stuff but on the open trails it could not be beaten and I thanked the new brakes several times when corners came up a lot faster than I thought possible. The bike is still narrow like the other models, you can move on top of the 530 like it’s the little 250 but obviously the heavier moving parts in the motor just makes it a little lazier when you are trying to throw the 530 around. But, I suppose if you’re in buying a 530 you already know that, you are just after the fun factor mixed with the adrenalin rush...yep, Amen to that...
So, why buy one?
Would I buy a KTM? Yep, at the drop of a hat. But you are reading this test because you are interested in what’s out there for 2010 and obviously there are other brands out there vying for your hard earned dollar. What I can tell you is this… each bike in the the 2010 KTM 4-Stroke range is sensational to ride in almost any terrain. I rode mud, rock, sand, motocross, open trail, virgin pine needle, single trail snotty woods, over logs, through sand whoops, through water crossings, over small kicker jumps, over large floating jumps, through sandy berms, through deep ruts, up rock infested hills, over sharp edged g-outs and almost any other terrain known to man and I would be a liar if I had anything seriously negative to say about any of the 2010 KTMs. Hope that helps… n
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Magnetic Mus Cycle Torque Test â€“ Victory Hammer S
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HAMMER BY NAME, HAMMER BY NATUREâ€Ś
scle Machine RIDING GEAR: RXT helmet, WileyX eyewear, Bikers Club Australia jacket, Cortech gloves, Draggin Chinos, Spyke Matador boots.
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Magnetic Muscle Machine S p e c i f i c at i o n s : 2009 Victory Hammer S Engine Type: Air/oil-cooled V-twin Capacity: 1731cc Transmission: Six speed/belt drive Fuel Capacity: 17 Litres Frame Type: Tubular steel Seat Height: 673mm Wet Weight: 303kg Front Suspension: 43mm inverted telescopic Rear Suspension: Single gas shock Brakes: 2 x 300mm discs with 4-piston calipers/ Single 300mm disc Tyres: 130/70-18, 250/40-18 Price (RRP): $30,995 + ORC Call for a quote today Your Motorcycle free CALL
1 800 24 34 64
Hammer S runs the 106 Cubic Inch Freedom V-twin.
The Victory Hammer S flexes some serious muscle and it just can’t help attracting attention. In fact, during a sixhour return trip from Newcastle to south of Sydney and back, it attracted about one “appreciative incident” every 20 minutes, but more on that later. When it was first released last year the Hammer was powered with the 100cu inch Freedom V-twin motor, but this year’s model has the more potent 106cu in (1731cc) powerplant.
of after-market pipes would do. The rider’s seat is comfortable and the removable passenger seat cowl functional, but being a muscle bike your pillion might want something a little more salubrious. The 106cu inch motor is a fuel-injected four-stroke 50 degree V-Twin with air/oil cooling and has a single overhead camshaft with four valves per cylinder, self-adjusting cam chains and hydraulic lifters.
On the stand
On the road
If the Boardwalk Blue and White striping is striking, then the 250mm wide rear tyre is an eyeball magnet. Fitted to the blue 18-inch Performance Machine X-Factor wheels with their interesting twin cross-over spoke pattern, that low, muscled rear-end attracted a lot of comment. Dunlop Elites grace both wheels and coped well. Front and rear have 18-inch rims and the combination works well, especially with such a wide rear. The staggered slash-cut dual exhaust with crossover look good and gave a low muted rumble but I couldn’t help wondering what a set
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What a difference an extra six cubic inches can make. As they say, Hammer by name, hammer by nature. Our longest jaunt, over 400km, covered a lot of territory from inner city streets and freeways, and even took in the whole length of Parramatta Road in Sydney - suspension certainly passed muster there. Despite sharing powerplants with the Victory Jackpot, one of the notable differences was the inverted 43mm front forks which offered 130mm of travel.
Left: Hammer S brakes are better than your average cruiser’s stoppers.
The rear-end has a single mono-tube gas set-up, made from cast aluminium and featuring rising rate linkage with 100mm of travel and the system has a preload adjustable spring. Like all the Victory range produced by Polaris Industries, that six-speed gearbox with the sixth-gear overdrive just laps up freeway kilometres and the engine loves it. At 120km/h on the freeway in top gear the tacho only just touched 2500rpm. The engine was barely purring along. The tacho’s redline is at 5500rpm, and the end of the world comes at 7000. It might be filling a niche as Victory’s muscle bike but the Hammer S can do some serious cruising kays if you’re so inclined. The carbon fibre reinforced belt just adds to the smoothness. The seat is certainly comfortable enough and the tank holds 17 litres, which might not sound a lot but if your engine is cruising at barely 2500 rpm it’s going to barely be sipping the juice. We found 250km is not unrealistic before the light comes on. The other big difference to the Victory Jackpot is a steeper rake. Combined with 148mm of ground clearance the Hammer S handles really well for its class. The first thought that went through my head when I saw the rear tyre was to wonder how much effort I was going to have to use to tip this muscle machine into corners - you have to remember I stand about five foot nothing and weigh barely 70kg. But, surprise surprise: the bike felt very easy tipping into tight turns and the reasonable ground clearance meant I didn’t scrape once on either side. Cruisers, being what they are, sometimes tend to have issues with ground clearance on corners. But here’s the rub - I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t riding a cruiser. This is billed as Victory’s muscle bike, and rightly so, just because it can handle cruising duties is a bonus.
For someone of my slight build the 303kg dry weight was also quite acceptable, as was the 673mm seat height. Shorter riders, or people with short legs are not going to have a problem with the Hammer S. One of my colleagues remarked that he felt the handlebars were a bit too far back. Maybe my shorter arms are perfectly suited to the geometry of the bike. Victory does have other ’bars to suit. I reckon a set of risers with flat bars might be the go, for both longer reach and just for the look. The front brakes are twin 300mm floating rotor jobs with four-piston calipers while the rear is a 300mm twin-piston caliper set up. I had a couple of “moments” in Sydney traffic and can gladly attest to the performance of the brakes.
On the eye
Victory bikes in general have attracted a lot of attention since they were launched in Australia just over 12 months ago, but the Hammer S really drew eyeballs. Even before leaving Newcastle it was attracting wide smiles and enthusiastic thumbs-up every time we stopped at traffic lights. Then 15 minutes down the road a driver in a van with an Orange County Choppers sticker on the back offered an enthusiastic thumbs up. Such enthusiastic gesticulations were frequent. In Sydney there were visits to two accessories warehouses which drew an instant crowd at each one with questions about engine size, model, manufacturer and appreciative comments in general.
The most notable incident was a biker in Sydney traffic pulling alongside and commenting on the cool looking huge rearend and wanting to know more about the bike.
On the pocket
What are you prepared to pay for a muscle bike that looks cool and is an eyeball magnet? Well, the Victory is not outrageously priced at $30,995 + ORC. There’s a lot of muscle bikes out there with tons of bling which will exceed this price bracket easily. Even in standard trim it’s a lot of bike for the money. The Hammer S comes with twoyear unlimited kilometre warranty. There’s also a pretty decent range of accessories available for it too. A selection of pipes, screen, luggage, handlebars and seats are available if you want to personalise your Hammer in your own way. n
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Cycle Torque Test – KTM 690 SMC/Enduro R TEST & PHOTOS BY
RIDING GEAR: AGV helmet, Ixon leathers, Razor boots.
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KTMâ€™s 690cc single is used in an amazing variet y of models.
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Three sixninetys THE idea of using one engine and chassis package to produce a number of different machines is a smart way to approach things. With relatively minor changes we get a supermoto, a big bore enduro and an outback adventure tourer, showing the true flexibility of the base design.
Cycle Torque is no stranger to the KTM 690 single – we’ve tested a number of models with this engine – so we’ll have a recap of the basic mechanical package. Many a great KTM has been the recipient of the LC4 moniker, but in our opinion this is the best big bore single cylinder KTM engine ever. 654cc, 11.8:1 compression ratio, dual oil pumps, electric start, fuel injection, and a six-speed gearbox with a slipper clutch as standard. High spec and plenty of grunt on tap. Chassis-wise, KTM sticks with its chromemoly trellis frame to house the engine and ancillaries. For suspension KTM uses White Power (it owns the company). Both the Enduro R and the SMC use 48mm forks with 275mm of travel. At the rear, the Enduro R has
275mm of travel from its WP monoshock, while the SMC has 10mm less travel. Both bikes weigh much the same, have the same size fuel tank and generally speaking are the same machine overall. The main differences being the 17 inch rims and big Brembo brake on the SMC compared to the more dirt orientated 18/21 inch wheel combination on the ‘R’. KTM Australia decided to take it one step further, modifying a standard Enduro R to turn it into an off road adventure machine. The bike was used to cover the recent Australian Safari in the hands of a journo, so not only did it have to be quick, it had to have a bigger fuel range and handle the conditions. Taking the standard machine, KTM slotted in a set of longer travel MX forks to cope with the extra weight of the 18 litre Safari fuel tank (giving a total capacity of 30 litres with the standard underseat fuel tank). A foam filter element replaced the standard paper unit and more aggressive tyres were used. To keep the rider abreast of where they were going was a map reader, while the original instruments were slightly modified to accept the map reader. A taller accessory screen from KTM Power Parts gave some extra wind protection, and for the rider’s gear was a set of alloy factory panniers and a seat bag.
What are they like to ride?
The SMC is a real hoon’s bike. This is a bike you can take to work, cruise the city, go scratching on the weekend, or do a track day. Take the road gear off and can even front up for a supermoto race. With sticky tyres and the big Brembo four-piston caliper you can lean this bike over to obscene lean
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angles, squash the front tyre down flat as you brake hard, and in the tight stuff, sports bikes will struggle to get away from you, all while you are grinning like a freak inside your helmet. Don’t forget, the SMC uses the same engine as the 690 Duke, so longer kilometre days in the saddle are only limited by the fuel range, and how hard your backside is. The only glitch is the ultra responsive nature of the fuel injection system, and it was something our young tester commented on after his first ride. Once he got used to it, it became much less of an issue, but nonetheless it is still there. There’s no mistaking the Enduro R is a big bike to take through the trails, especially in company with more race derived machinery. The Enduro R reminds us of the days of 600cc thumpers and the like. Obviously it’s light years ahead of that era but the size and weight of the ‘R’ feels similar. These sort of bikes are what we cut our teeth on, so handling the ‘R’ was like revisiting those days to an extent. It would take a very good rider to get the best of a bike like this on more technical and tight trails. For the average trail rider it could be too much a bike if you like single trail. Out on the fire trails and more open country, the ‘R’ is an awesome bit of kit which will propel you to speeds which will see the trees blurring by. In the bush the on/off nature of the fuel injection was much less noticeable, most likely due to the more aggressive way in which you tend to ride between the trees.
It’s amazing what a few changes can do to the feel of a bike. Where the ‘R’ feels very off-road orientated, the modified version feels much more like an adventure bike, with the map reader and screen out in front, the panniers on the sides. Of course the Safari fuel tank all adds to the adventure. The extra weight is noticeable straight away, and you feel much more ‘in’ the bike, rather then ‘on’ it. It also felt better on the road, most likely the extra ‘bulk’ around the rider giving a feeling of more protection. Off road the bike feels right at home on fire trails. We did a loop which included some windy bumpy tar, river crossings, erosion banks and fire trails. All adventure bike stuff, and the Safari ‘R’ was the best bike we’ve taken on that particular trip. It doesn’t have the extra weight of bigger capacity adventure two-wheelers, and the extra fuel capacity gives it a huge fuel range. Where it falls down compared to its bigger brother the 990 Adventure R, is its onroad performance, but this is to be expected.
The SMC is for crazy people, the Enduro ‘R’ is for offroad riders who like open trails (although you could insert crazy people here also, if you see one on a single trail), and modifying an ‘R’ like KTM has done will have you climbing ‘Big Red’ and crossing the Simpson Desert. n
NOVEMBER 2009 - 43
Moving on NO, I haven’t decided to vacate the editor’s chair at Cycle Torque, so you can have a collective sigh of relief. I’m talking about the direction my son will be taking with his road racing next year. Let’s get one thing straight. I’m not a father who dreams, in this case, of his son being a champion international road racer, or his daughter being a soap star or similar. In fact I’m probably the opposite, I think being a professional sports person or being in the public eye can be a poison chalice, with plenty of pressure a by-product of such a life. We’ve spent the last three years competing in the MRRDA series on Honda CBR150s, Moriwaki 80 and our oneoff Yamaha GP Mono. It’s been generally good fun, and at times been not so enjoyable, with crashes and long trips a part of the first couple of seasons. I’ll just take a side note here to take my hat off to Paul Edwards and the rest of the MRRDA crew who’ve made it possible, they’ve done a fantastic job and should be commended. But it’s time to think about where to next. Alex turns 16 in October and can jump on any open class bike, whether it be a 250GP bike or a superbike. Of course it would be sheer
44 - NOVEMBER 2009
lunacy to shove him on a superbike but going on everything I’ve seen he should be fine to go to 600 superstock, as long as he has a decent amount of testing prior to his first race. But this is where I get nervous. Alex is yet to turn 16 and is about to start year 11 at high school. His education is far more important than racing motorcycles, especially when it’s not my dream or necessarily his to be the next big thing on a racing bike. There are plenty of kids and parents out there who are chasing that dream, we’d only just be joining the queue. Sure, Alex wants to ride a 600, he just loves riding but I’ve also made him aware of the hurdles that await the wannabe pro racer. There are plenty of options you can try before stepping up to this level. Alex has already tasted the 250 GP Mono and the thought of running a decent 125GP twostroke sends chills down my spine after seeing a couple of mates and their kids struggle to keep them together. You can go to the 400cc class and race with the MRRDA or similar series, you can go BEARS or club racing on lower level machines. What I’m getting at is there’s no hard and fast rule which says you have to jump all of these classes
and get to the big boys straight away or you’ll never be successful. I think that’s absolute crap. And besides, isn’t it supposed to be all about fun? The most fun Alex ever has is when he’s racing his mate Brodie Thackeray. Sure there are other racers out there on the track with them but they don’t care who they beat as long as they beat each other. When you see 15-year-olds shaking hands as they are on the slow down lap and then back slapping each other and swapping tales in the pits, well that’s what makes it worthwhile to me. With all this in mind, and after much deliberation and reflection, I have decided to buy a new Triumph Daytona 675 for Alex to ride next year, allowing him to race in either Superstock or BEARS. What I have also decided, is it’s time to sell the Cycle Torque Yamaha GP Mono (pictured above). To recap, we got the idea from America and the UK where a number of companies and privateers were building road racers out of 450cc off-roaders. We took a new 2008 YZ250F, shortened and beefed-up the original suspension, fitted supermoto wheels and big brakes, plonked on an RS250 road race fairing and seat, plus fitted the obligatory clip ons, rear
sets etc. The bike has been ultra reliable and Alex has even managed to stay on it, so it’s never been crashed. There’s a number of mods done to up performance and there’s a few spares, like footpegs and handlebars, gearing changes and so on. That is a very quick overview of the whole process but it is a great bike and ripe for a new home. The bike comes with all the motocross gear, wheels, bodywork, ‘bars etc, which has never been used and never seen dirt. The engine has been used for approximately 15 hours and the top end will be freshened up prior to sale. The bike and all the gear as it sits would cost over 15 grand to build from new parts. For everything we are after around $9000, less for the bike as a motocrosser. You can even see the bike in action on the road race track (Broadford in Victoria) during a practice session. Go to www.cycletorque. com.au to check it out. We’ll also have it displayed on the Cycle Torque stand at the Sydney Motorcycle Show in November. For more info email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. au or call on 02 4956 9820 or 0404 030 925. – Chris Pickett
th e p t
NOVEMBER 2009 - 27
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Cycle Torque Test – Kawasaki KLX450R
saki When the team at Kawa n modify one Of their ow KLX450Rs, you know it’s going to perform.
46 - NOVEMBER 2009
DEPENDING on who you talk to, Kawasaki’s KLX450R is either a trail or enduro machine. One thing is for sure, it’s easy and fun to ride in the bush, and has a great spread of usable horsepower. To help shake of this ‘trail bike’ tag, Kawasaki has modified a standard KLX450R and turned it into a race-ready enduro blaster. But instead of delving into the parts list of aftermarket suppliers, the guys
at Kawasaki Australia took to their own parts shelves for the majority of the bits. Firstly, all the ADR gear was stripped off and parts like the coolant catch bottle and the standard hand guards were also given the flick, as was the standard exhaust sytem. As the project was mostly about turning the KLX into a race bike, these parts weren’t needed, and losing them substantially reduced the overall weight.
For the vast majority of riders, the power of a standard KLX450R is more than enough. For the rest, or competition riders, a little more on tap might be handy at times. To give the KLX a boost, a 2008 KX450 motocross head replaced the standard unit. This head is available as a complete package from Kawasaki dealers for around $1200 pretty much ready to bolt on, and allows the engine
to take deeper breaths. The only other modification to the engine as a whole is a Pro Circuit exhaust, which still has the long header pipe setup to keep good bottom end power. Some jetting changes were made, and recommended jetting specs come with the kit. We would have to say the engine was very strong, and the engine carburated extremely well during the test
Continued on p49> NOVEMBER 2009 - 47
TORQUING BACK Off the street THERE is an event you might like to know about which is held regularly in Qld and aimed at getting hoons off the street. It’s called Archerfield Stunt Sessions (ASS) and is held by one of Australia’s top motorcycle entertainment stunt teams - Cunningstunts. There is more info at www.cunningstunts.com/events. Essentially the average Joe now has somewhere legal, with insurance, to test the limits of the bike and the rider doing wheelies, stoppies,skids, burnouts, acrobatics, or anything else you can think of. Regards Ben Aylen Cheap bike gear GOT to thinking the other day just how inexpensive riding gear is becoming. Is it cheap imports from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, China etc? Or is it there’s more of us buying the stuff? A little of both I suspect. Wasn’t so long ago it was impossible to buy a good leather jacket for less than $500, now they’re on sale for $3-400. Says a little about the fashion of our times, and I suspect the quality has suffered compared to a few decades ago. Of course body armour and design has come on in leaps and bounds since then. Wonder if you could do a test of leather versus textile jackets? Had to buy a pair of well known and respected brand gloves a few years back, Hipora lined, waterproof and windproof, middle of the range, about $130. I rubbed ski waterproof dressing in to be sure, and guess what, those gloves got as sodden and cold as I felt, about the same time the anti fog on my helmet visor gave up and clouded everything over when I came to a stop sign, and I could neither flip up my visor, (hands were too cold), nor pull over as I could see nothing. So I was stuck in the middle of the road and feeling the most vulnerable I’ve ever felt. Admittedly it was sleeting at the time, and zero degrees in Spring in Tassie, but aren’t these just the conditions when we want our riding gear to work? Moreover aren’t these the times makers claim their gear will work? I’m still looking for a pair of decent pair of gloves that will work at the time I need them to. Bit hard to test at point of sale though. Cheers David Hi David Bike gear certainly has become cheaper over the years. I think, in most respects, better too. I base that on the level of protection gear offers these days. I still look at a set of two piece leathers I got around 20 years ago, and smile at how little protection they actually give, compared to today’s products. They also represented a substantial outlay, much more than the equivalent today. Ed Dirt and tar lover YOU really do it for me. Love to ride the dirt on my KLX450R, and love to ride the Highways on my Triumph ’96 900 Trophy. Not many mags have all the stuff I like to read about, but somehow you just cover it all. Where do I get a job like this...? Keep up the fantastic work, just love picking it up from my local dealer each month. Last issue, which is one of the few I have misplaced, you had a small article on a group that is planning a 49 day trip
48 - NOVEMBER 2009
from Turkey to the Isle of Man for the TT. Any chance you could forward the info, can’t wait for that one! Cheers David Fenner Hey Dave Thanks for the fan mail. The TT trip with Get Routed would be awesome. I’ve forwarded their details to you. Ed Painful EARLY 2008 I was rear-ended while I was turning into a driveway travelling at about 5km/h. The motorist failed to even notice I was there until almost on top of the bike. They broke late, I did a superman act and landed knee first. I survived the accident with a permanent injury to my knee caused by the impact with the road. Not a scratch to my Draggin Jeans, no skin broken, no scratches to my leather jacket, gloves but my brand new helmet was retired by the insurance company. I do remember watching my newly renovated XV750 Virago being pushed along the ground by the car as I sailed through the air. Of course I was more concerned with the state of the bike than myself. The $4500 repair bill was paid by the insurance, thankfully. I thought they were going to write off my baby. Now a year later a friend of the family was riding his BMW through a car park doing less than 10km’s and was rear ended by a 4-wheel drive with bull bar. Now the rider is ok, but by the looks of things the BMW will be written off by the insurance company. My gripe is, how hard is it to travel at a slow speed and not to notice a bike in front of you? I am more paranoid about travelling at slow speeds than travelling at legal road limits. I hate how cars pull right up to the rear end of the bike at lights - I’m one of the riders who doesn’t lane split. It’s bad enough when you get cut off in traffic, when cars don’t check the blind spot and they almost end up sitting in your lap. As motorcyclists we are always aware of everything around you - but I am afraid God did not give us eyes in the back of the head. So hey - all the car drivers - a bit of attention please. Regards Anne Marie Pajanka Accident Prone? I STARTED riding road bikes (mopeds) from the age of 14 (used to steal my father’s bike). Back in the home country (Holland), we were legally allowed to ride a 49cc moped from the age of 16 without a licence. After a few years’ break I decided it was time to get back on a bike and have enjoyed the experience to date. There were two accidents about a year apart, both accidents were ‘not my fault’. Big deal, when you’re the one carted off to the nearest hospital and the driver gets back in their car to go home. I thought long and hard about what it was that I could have done to prevent both these accidents from happening. One accident happened on Burke Rd, Malvern (Vic). I was heading toward Caulfield going up the hill after the freeway, a car was indicating to turn right into one of the side streets so I passed him on the left. By the time I saw the car coming from the other side, who was also turning right, it was all
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This month Marcel Gomperts has won a copy of Biker’s Handbook. This hilarious book is about becoming part of the Biker culture - instructive if you want to be involved and enlightening even if you don’t. You can buy a copy for $34.95 by ringing Cycle Torque on 02 4956 9825. Send your letters (and/or great bike pictures) to The Editor, Cycle Torque, PO Box 687 Warners Bay, NSW 2282 or email email@example.com. au.
too late. I T-boned the car at a full 60km/h, my wife flew over the top of me and I flew over the back of the car. We both ended up in hospital, without any major breaks. The bike was a write off, Shannons fixed that without any problem. The cop on the scene charged me with what he termed ‘undertaking’, however this charge was thrown out before it ever got to court. The real issue here is what could I have done to prevent this accident. After having thought about it long and hard I believed it had to do with my road ‘presence’, I should have been much wider from the car when passing him on the left to ensure that I had a clear view of the road ahead and this would have ensured that I would have seen the car ahead even if they still hadn’t seen me, and I could have taken the appropriate action. My second accident almost a year later was different, yet in many ways the same. I was riding down William St in Melbourne crossing Flinders St in the left lane. The car to my right halfway through the intersection decided without any warning to turn left and clean me up. I got pinned underneath my bike and thankfully had no major injuries. My replacement Draggin Jeans (bought a year earlier) however didn’t fare well after Nurse Ratchet put the scissors through them. The lessons I learned from riding 20+ years and these accidents is to; Always stay in the right lane where possible. Have a presence on the road (don’t hide), always allow enough space around you. If some dick is up your arse give yourself enough braking distance in front so you never have to hit the brakes hard and end up wearing a plastic bumper around your neck. In simple terms, take and keep control of your space. Live to Ride and Ride to Live. Cheers Marcel Gomperts
Super KLX > From page 47. and still retains its linear power delivery. We tried the modified KLX on single trail and open forest trails. Never at any stage did we feel the need for more power, or experience any coughs or splutters from the engine. If you up the ante in the power stakes, you need to do likewise with the suspension. Once again Kawasaki turned to its own shelves and dug out one rate stiffer fork and shock springs. These items are available from your Kawasaki dealers. Procircuit pipe releases a thumper note. The only other mods to the suspension was 20ml more fork oil in each leg to help avoid bottoming out; valving remains standard. Once again it was hard to fault the suspension. The riders’ weights ranged from around 75kg to 100kg and each rider came away impressed with the handling qualities of the modified KLX. Compared to a standard KLX, the modified version sits a bit taller in the saddle and takes the hits in its stride. It’s Accessory bash plate protects the cases. not easy to tune a bike’s suspension to cater for a wide range of rider weights and ability but the team at Kawasaki Australia nailed it in this case. Even our resident former pro motocrosser gave the bike a workout and handed it back with a big grin. In keeping with the racer feel, Kawasaki opted to fit Michelin tyres, an MH3 front and an S12 rear. If you like the graphics, that’s great but you can’t buy them from your local dealer, they are a one-off. Does this tell us that Kawasaki Australia’s mechanical team can turn a very basic trail bike into an enduro racer, ready to take on all comers with only relatively minor changes? No, what it tells us is the KLX450R in standard form is a much Engine features a KX450 MX head. underrated bike.
Even though Kawasaki market the KLX450R as an enduro bike, for many riders it feels more like a trail bike than most of its competitors. Far from being a negative, in our books it’s very much a positive. Not only that, Kawasaki has shown that with minor updates the KLX450R can be turned into a competition machine which can hold its own, without destroying the user friendly nature of the bike for the average rider. The base price of a KLX450R is $12,499 + ORC, the modifications take it a bit beyond that, but one ride of this bike and you’d look at how you could find the money. n Suspension has had some upgrades too.
NOVEMBER 2009 - 49
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This book is written to help motorcyclists prepare themselves and their motorcycle for traveling long distances over extended periods. Whether you are getting ready for a weekend trip beyond your home turf, or for a transcontinental odyssey lasting several years, Coyner’s book details the fundamentals for riding in comfort, safety, and convenience.
Kazoom – the madcap motorbike race
Young kids are fascinated by motorbikes. That’s why they stare, point and wave at bikers. Here’s a great book for them. Kazoom tells the story of a crazy race in superb cartoon images and rollicking verse. Twenty-six great bikes – including Beemer, Duke, Trumpy, Kwaka and Harley – ridden by a collection of zany characters. Written, illustrated and published in Australia. Kazoom - $15.95
The Castrol Six Hour Production Race
For 18 years, the Castrol Six Hour Production Race was the biggest event on the Australian motorcycling calendar. Controversial, important and exciting, the Castrol Six Hour Production Race was one of those rare events which had bikes and tyres developed specifically to win it.
The Castrol Six Hour Production Race – $69.95
Order online at www.cycletorque.com.au or call 02 4956 9825 (Australia only)
Essential Guide to Motorcycle Travel – $49.95
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Flexibil th. o b n o r a st a is 1 R oad or track; the
Cycle Torque Test â€“ 2009 Yamaha R1 TEST & PHOTOS BY
RIDING GEAR: Suomy helmet, Laro jacket, Spyke pants, Spyke gloves, Alpinestars boots.
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WE WERE impressed with the new R1 at the world launch. This was on the track, but we were also keen to see whether or not it was as impressive on the road. It was! Using technology from its MotoGP campaign, Yamaha’s decided to up the ante in the real world. You know, the one where the riders usually buy their own bikes. Yamaha’s R1 has been a big seller since its inception, and for good reason: each model has been a great sports bike. But what do you do when the competition is very close? You give buyers something different to entice them to your brand, a point of difference. This came in the way of the crossplane crankshaft design, which in essence gives the inline four cylinder engine the sound, and feel, of a V4. Everyone likes to call it the ‘Big Bang’ engine. Our February issue had all the technical good oil regarding this bike (also available at www. cycletorque.com.au), so we won’t go into too much detail this time around, other than a quick recap. The engine has a 270-18090-180 degree firing order, the aim to give better traction and a more precise power delivery
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than a regular inline four. Fuel injection, fly-by-wire throttle, variable intake trumpets and the three-mode engine map system are just part of the engine wizardry. For the chassis Yamaha retains the usual twin-spar alloy set-up called the Deltabox, a name Yamaha has used for years now. Even though the chassis is an all-new design, Yamaha chose to keep the rake and trail as before. Wheelbase is 5mm shorter than the 2008 R1, and generally it’s stiffer and more flexible where it needs to be. Taking the hits are a set of 43mm USD forks which use the left leg to control compression damping and the right to control rebound. At the rear, a bottom-link shock has a more progressive ratio to better use the travel. There’s also a hydraulic pre-load adjuster to make life easier. A steering damper comes standard, engaged only when the handlebars start banging around too quickly, launching into action a check ball which stiffens things up accordingly.
On the track, the 2009 R1 was one of the greatest bikes I’d ridden. The engine is glorious,
the sound equally so, and it was confidence inspiring to ride at pace. On the road the R1 sampled everything Twin pipes stay under the seat, unlike the R6. from freeways, ridiculously bumpy roads and even dirt while in our hands. The biggest killer on a bike like this is the overly aggressive riding position. We continually ask ourselves why is there the need for manufacturers to build bikes like this, when minor changes Crossplane crankshaft gives the to the ’peg and ’bar positions would make life so much easier new R1 an entirely different feel. for riders. Many superbike riders even put higher and wider handle bars on their race bikes for better control. It’s hard to emphasise how good an engine the R1 has, there’s huge power from low in the rev range, all the way to a come-to-God top end (Yamaha claims over 180hp). Getting it to Six-piston calipers are ultra powerful. the ground is easy too, the way the engine delivers it’s ponies is all about forward motion, rather than bucking and carrying on. Two extra teeth on the rear sprocket help the acceleration, but there is a catch; the offbeat lilt of the exhaust and the unfazed nature of the engine can give you a false impression of Plenty of info on the dash. how fast you are going. It’s only Hard to read at 280km/h though.
when you arrive at corners faster than you thought, you realise this and thank Yamaha for the six-piston stoppers at the front. With three engine maps you have Standard which is an all-round package. ‘A’ Mode gives sharper response, while ‘B’ Mode softens the response for situations like rain and so on. On the track we found Standard best: ‘A’ Mode gave too sharp an initial hit for our liking, causing us to run slightly wide. On the road it was the same, Standard Mode was best for the riding we did which included some mighty bumpy roads. Fly-by-wire has come in for some criticism since its inception a few years back on other makes of motorcycle, but you never get the feeling there’s anything but a throttle cable
S p e c i f i c at i o n s : 2009 Yamaha R1 Engine Type: Liquid-cooled inline four engaging the throttle bodies of the R1. It’s Capacity: 998cc that good it’s not an issue. Transmission: Six speed/chain drive The slipper clutch worked well with Fuel Capacity: 18 Litres the six-speed gearbox, allowing smooth Frame Type: Alloy Deltabox downshifts without the rear wheel hopping Seat Height: 835mm around like a mad person. But most road Wet Weight: 206kg riders would never be going fast enough Front Suspension: 43mm inverted to truly appreciate its capabilities. We also liked the gear position indicator – every bike telescopic Rear Suspension: Single Monocross should have one. Brakes: 2 x 310mm discs with If you like sports bikes you can’t help but 6-piston calipers/ Single rear disc be impressed with the way the $19,999 R1 Tyres: 120/70-17, 190/55-17 goes about its business. It has to be one of Price (RRP): $20,999 + ORC the most incredible sports bikes ever made. If Call for a quote today Your Motorcycle we owned one though, it would have higher free CALL Insurance 1 800 24 34 64 Specialists handlebars and lower footpegs, but then again so would every race-replica style bike www.yamaha-motor.com.au we’ve ridden in recent years.n
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ATV torture test Just turning up to race the Finke is tough. Finishing is tougher, just ask Vivian Hoy.
LOSING my father just before the 2008 Finke Desert Race was tough. Little did I know the 2009 Finke was going to be much tougher. Leading up to the 2009 Finke, little did everyone know that you would have to fight to get an entry due to the overwhelming interest. Following the demand for Finke entries in 2008 the Finke desert committee decided to open entries in January 2009 for the 2009 race. I think the Finke desert race is the biggest, most prestigious and popular race in Australia. So when the entries were flooding in, I was panicking as to how I was going to raise the entry fee before they were full. I felt most fortunate to have my entry accepted in the last few. In 45 days, 500 paid entries were received. Once my entry was accepted my focus then turned to improving my Finke performance compared to last year. After having my butt thoroughly whooped by Finke 2008, I decided to pay more attention to my quad set up. When talking to various people about this topic, I was told that it is impossible to do Finke without a steering damper, well hmm, I had. But I wanted to try a steering damper/stabilizer before the next Finke and have a decent seat! I did a lot of research on dampers and found lots of great recommendations for Scott and Precision brands. Money being tight, luckily I got a second hand one off the internet. All right I thought – ’09 gunna be divine. Then early on a Sunday morning, a phone call came through that Ed Hargraves (Finke Champion and all round legend) had been murdered over night. My Mum and I had spent time with Ed’s family in October when we went down to the Master’s Games. At first I hoped it was a sick joke because it was too heart breaking to be real. The ABC reported “Alice Springs man Ed Hargraves, 37 year
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old father of three went out for a beer at the Memorial club in town and never came home. He was stabbed to death”... I felt like I had been kicked in the guts and was physically sick. The story of Ed and Scotty McConnell helping Isaac Elliot achieve his dream of Finke, by modifying a motorcycle after Isaac broke his back, is a true indication of the man. Not only had the Australian Quad family but Alice Springs and the Finke Desert race had lost a genuine legend and a real mate. 2009 = sucked. With the damper on my quad, a few of us headed off to Alice Springs to do the Alice Springs Motorcycle Club (ASMCC) Finke prologue practice day, and then travel on down to Pinaroo, for the 2009 Thump Pump 300. The car broke down, we ran out of fuel, my phone went flat and then we got pulled over by the police near Tennant Creek. We hadn’t done anything wrong, they were there to tell us my family had been involved in a major hit and run car accident, everyone hurt, Granddad dead and my seven-year-old daughter Caley in an induced coma. After 24 days and five operations, mum and my daughters Jade, Alanah and Delta were finally released from hospital. Caley had awoke from the coma but was seriously ill and in a cast from chest to left toes and right knee. As Caley progressed she urged me on to do the Kamfari race, but only if I dressed as a smurf. My get up was amazing and so was christened, Caley’s Kamfari Smurf. This came and went, I received the ‘Fastest Women in Kamfari’ trophy (must have had something to do with my brakes not working), and $250 worth of perfume. I calculated that the upcoming Finke was just over six weeks from the accident so maybe, I hoped, I could still take them all down to Alice Springs as originally planned. Finke was approaching and I stupidly had let my MA license lapse. Then Caley’s cast had to stay on for six weeks not including the coma time in ICU because it went on the day before she woke up. So she would definitely not be out of hospital. I had been looking forward to Finke and still hoped I could ride, but as
everything mounted on top of me, I had to accept that financially and physically, I was just not fit enough. But that wouldn’t stop me from turning up to help my friends race. Scrutineering day dawned on an excited Alice Springs – this is one of the attractions of the Finke Desert Race. The whole town has an excited atmosphere, which is unique to Alice Springs, seen at both the Finke Desert Race and the Biannual Masters Games held there. No other town compares to Alice – Kalgoorlie locals said they had never heard of the Australian Safari, despite Kalgoorlie being the 2008 starting point that same week. Teams such as ours raced around Alice Springs trying to get all the last minute bits and pieces that didn’t get packed. I appreciate the fuel stop people so much more now, as they have to be very organized and try to pack everything they could possibly need. I did take my new quad with us, it waited patiently in the trailer. Before long word was out – a Polaris outlaw with 525 engine was available to steal parts off – provided these parts were replaced with new parts later. My quad had many visits and eventually rode down to the Finke community to be on hand for parts if anyone required them. As with previous years, scrutineering requires you to take your riding gear, including the required back brace, jersey, goggles, gloves, boots, pants and helmet to the friendly committee officials. If you intend to run a helmet cam – these needed to be fitted at this inspection. Why – I discovered from, Jordie – our MANT official, a very easy going fella but not when it comes to the safety of his riders. At a previous event, a rider had attached his helmet camera with a bolt through a hole, he drilled at the centre top of his helmet, with a nut which would sit upon the riders skull. Apparently the rider did not realise that the structure of the helmet had been compromised or that the bolt and nut could damage his skull in an accident. After ensuring everything was in order for everyone, it was time to go race. – Continued next month…
Cycle Torque Feature – KTM Sunny Corner Rally
Carnage Touring with Penfold–
I SAID, “Hey, big Ed, do you want to have a crack at the Sunny Corner Trail Ride?” His reply, “Mate I am a bit soft but I want you to go hard and that includes the riding.” So that was that. Around 12 mates and I strapped our bikes in and headed off to Sunny Corner. Arrived Friday, set up camp and had a few dust settlers before some shenanigans were performed around the fire. Lamb shanks for tucker, thanks Phil. After a late night of koala spotting, I awoke with a mild headache. Unfortunately for my mates it was only 6am. I decided to kick over my big block TT-R250 to make sure she was running well at the higher altitude. A couple of minutes later, all the other boofheads were complaining of noise. Come on you soft roosters... Let’s go riding.
On the trail
The larger of the two loops was just short of 80km. Fantastic open fire trails, single track, water crossings, rock faces, up and down filthy hills. The loop had
it all and it was all marked and easy to follow, even for me. There is even the option of taking more difficult sections if you desire. Basically you can ride at whatever pace you feel happy with, which is great for all abilities. I decided to wash the dust out and let the second loop go until Sunday. Rest up was the plan. However come 2am Sunday morning the fire was almost dead. Decided to crank up the old chain saw, which went over real big with other campers. Sorry about that, I was looking after my soft mates who were feeling cold under their blankies. Now scrutineering requires your bike be registered, ie. plate and label. You also need at least your learner licence before you are issued a number to put on your helmet. The organisation I must say was great. There were a couple of checkpoints and basically you would be missed if you did not come back.
Carnage to report on first loop
Big Richo into a tree. Handguard pinched front brake hose, resulting in
Cycle Torque ‘hard man’ Tony Penfold takes on the 2009 KTM Sunny Corner Rally.
losing fluid which meant no front brakes. “Don’t worry big fella, only 60km to go…” He later backed this up when he decided to have a swim in a deep puddle. Love your work Richo. Big DC lost the front end while cruising along at 70km standing up on the pegs. The finish was big with him landing on his shoulder. “Mate, you all right? Excellent off, think we got that one on helmet cam…DC you there?” Couple of seconds later reply was…”MAMA!” Stacks of front fork issues, with all the fork oil unfortunately on the outside of the forks. Electrical problems for some, but we were lucky enough to have a couple of Defence Force sparkies. I must mention that the big Husaberg 570cc ridden by one of said sparkies did run out of fuel and was rescued by yours truly with a Powerade bottle. My comment was he needed to scale back his wheelies. I managed a huge slit through my front tyre but somehow it did not reach the tube. How lucky is that? Spot of lunch, fuel up and a quick examination of bike. Yep, it’s muddy but
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Carnage Touring with Penfold–
engine still running. Let’s crack out the second loop. Big credit to Phil aka ‘Borat’, for he and I were the only two blokes in our group of 12 to harden up and do the second loop. How good was the second loop, just short of 50km? Talk about tight and rocky. It was quite challenging but very enjoyable. Everyone around the loop would pull up after some filthy hard awful section and just fist pump for getting through it. I loved it, until I spotted a photographer taking photos on the other side of a creek. Bit of a head wobble, decided to crack it open across the creek, only to fall into the rut from hell, which I reckon was as deep as a bush toilet I had dug earlier. Experienced a few birds and stars but finally the eyes came back on line to see old mate crackin the photos off…great, I thought. Sunday ends with the big giveaway of two KTM motorcycles and heaps of other products (KTM 450 EXC and a 50cc). Yours truly won a MotoOz Enduro tyre, so how could I complain. While we were waiting with bated breath to see who’d won the new bikes, we told how Sutto’s KTM/Husaberg had been ripped off twice in one month. Keep an eye out for real cheap bikes or gear, and call the authorities if they are dodgy. Now if you pre-enter the KTM Sunny Corner the cost is $125, but if you rock up on the weekend it will cost $150. Either way the cost is thoroughly worth it. This allows riding all day Saturday around the two loops and the actual event on the Sunday. You also get a welcome bag with a couple of dirt mags, stickers, DVD, free brekky and lunch on Sunday. The organisers also put on a trade fair over two days and live band on Saturday night. See Sunny Corner website for more details. Ladies welcome and following them did not hurt my form either. Love the pink Fox gear. The Central Tablelands Motorcycle Club put on an awesome rally, make sure you go next year! Thanks to Maitland Motorcycles for the FMF pipe and Dunlop rear tyre. – Tony Penfold
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1000cc of s this V-twin setight. prowler al
Big Cat Cycle Torque Test – Arctic Cat Prowler
IF YOU want power from your side-byside ATV, then Arctic Cat’s Prowler fits the bill. Whether it be farm or recreation, the Prowler can cope with just about anything you can throw at it. The big issue for any vehicle like this in Australia is registration. American marketing pics show the Prowler being used in all sorts of situations that would induce a frown from the authorities in good old Aussie, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still use and enjoy one here.
Check out the specs
Making the Prowler one of the most powerful in its class is the 951cc fuel injected 90 degree V-twin engine. Arctic Cat doesn’t quote any power figures in its literature, but let’s just say it honks. ATV power junkies, line up here. Starting the engine is easy via a key switch on the dash, the same as a car. There’s no
option for a transmission, auto is the way forward, or backwards, here. High and low range is a feature, so climbing rock walls is not out of the question. Independent suspension sits front and rear, with close to 250mm of travel at each corner.
Work, or play
One look at the Prowler shows you it’s designed more as a workhorse than a competition or racing machine, although people do race them in the USA. Some of its blue collar features are a handy storage space under the ‘bonnet’, and a tilt rear tray. Both of these features are very easy to use. Mounting the engine amidships is one of the reasons Arctic Cat was able to offer so much storage, especially at the front of the vehicle. Access to the engine is also easy, just remove the two seats (very easily done) and lift off the engine cover. Arctic Cat probably
doesn’t want the home handyman delving into the engine, but at least the designers had ease of servicing in mind when the design was made a reality. Arctic Cat’s products are usually designed to cope with some pretty arduous conditions, so reliability shouldn’t be an issue. You might think a vehicle like this doesn’t have a place in Cycle Torque. Sure, it has a steering wheel and in some respects is like a car to drive, albeit a very rough car, but many farmers or recreational users might consider a vehicle like this over a regular quad, especially considering the amount of gear you can carry. For the driver and passenger you have two waterproof seats, cup holders, adjustable head rests, seat belts and a roll over bar to protect the noggin in case you get too adventurous chasing the cows or wild bull. Comfort is fine, unless you are trying to set speed records in the rough stuff (it is capable
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Big Cat sorts of implements for the Arctic Cats which can make them such versatile vehicles. The 31 litre fuel capacity also gives it a leg up over conventional ATVs. At $21,450 (inc GST) it represents a serious investment (there is also single cylinder 700 and 550cc versions available for less money), but it all depends on how serious you take your work or play. Whatever you do, this particular Arctic Cat model will give a big smile whenever you do it. n
of some frightening speeds in the bush), and overall the suspension copes well enough, combined with the big fat Maxxis tyres which help soak up the bumps as well. There’s plenty of room for taller drivers, or even wider drivers. One downside here is the seats are not adjustable. Depending on the terrain, you can select two or four-wheel drive, and you can also lock the front differential if things are getting tough in the rough. Arctic Cat certainly set out to make it look sporty, with two colours, the featured Desert Red, and Arctic Green. Adding to the bush cred is eye catching graphics and mag wheels. If work is your main goal, there’s substantial towing points at the front and rear of the Prowler. Everywhere we put the Prowler it did easy, up rock faces, over erosion humps
(and jump we did), through the mud and so on. The only issue was the touchy throttle which made difficult terrain slightly more difficult, especially in low range. We also had the thought a small door for the passengers might make them feel more at ease.
The final say
Even though you can’t road register a Prowler in Australia, there are still plenty of options for its use. Obviously farmers would love it, outback cattle station hands could do wonders, property owners would have a ball wandering around the property, and fishermen would enjoy fishing even before they wet a line, if they can can get a permit to use it on the sand. In fact there’s a whole catalogue full of accessories such as gun scabbards, seed drills, removable roof covers, racks and all
Cowl easily lifts off to reveal the 1000cc V-twin engine.
Storage is also available under the ‘bonnet’.
Tipper rear is handy on the farm.
www.cycletorque.com.au Please write a review and rate this ‘podcast’ in iTunes 60 - NOVEMBER 2009
The guv’nor WHEN I was growing up, admittedly in a different century and country, motorcycle mechanics were people to be feared. They were usually ex-army NCOs who’d swapped their khaki for oil-stained blue overalls but hadn’t lost their zeal for treating lesser mortals to the sharp edge of their tongues. (“Is your hair hurting you, lad? It should be, because I’m standing on it!”) As a working principle this attitude applied to customer as much to hapless staff, and for each bull-necked and apoplectic former sergeant-artificer with a menacing grip on his 10-inch adjustable there were half a dozen pimplebestrewn youths on either side of the counter trying to mask fear with hollow bravado or yield to clear and unashamed cowardice. Ironically, surrendering your bike to his tender mercies was an act of unparalleled courage. Not because Sergeant Rock was mechanically deficient in any way – though you could argue that an encyclopaedic knowledge of a 30-cylinder Chrysler C57 Multibank engine from a Sherman tank wouldn’t be all that useful when checking the wheel alignment on a Suzuki Super Six – but because he’d believe instinctively that you – “you ’orrible little man” – hadn’t the faintest clue what was best for you and proceed accordingly. In practice this meant that the mean little café racer you’d delivered to have the carburettors balanced would be returned to you minus its Goldie-style megaphones, clip-on bars and chromed guards; in their place would be ex-War Department iron-framed panniers, pullback handlebars and a barn-door fairing. And if he’d been really splenetic, the 40mm Amal GP would have been replaced with a 28mm concentric and there’d be big washers below the barrel to drop compression by three points, thereby enabling your new, long-life motor to subsist on a 50:50 mixture of golden syrup and surgical spirit until Armageddon claimed us all. Then he’d go to work on you, the principal source of his problems. Your chic leather jacket would at the very least be shorn of its badges and more likely be replaced a dispatch rider’s rubberised overcoat and lap rug, your racing gloves by gauntlets in King Kong size and that rakish chequertaped jet helmet swapped for an army-surplus pudding basin in a fetching olive green. And then came the farewell homily: “Now don’t go mad, you silly bugger. You might not be much use but you’ve got a mother somewhere, God help her.” It’s a wonder any of us survived, and how different from today… Brian greets me with a broad grin and bids me take a seat. The phone rings. He apologises and answers it, leaving me to run an eye over his bright, well-stocked accessory department. Gary wanders over carrying two steaming mugs. He places one on the desk beside me and heads back
to his bench, slurping from the other, and the headless R6 he’s working on. Brian replaces the receiver, scribbles a note on a job sheet and looks up, smiling. “What’s up?” “Guilt has driven me here,” I begin. He leans across the desk, hands clasped in front of him. His eyebrows fold into the beginnings of a sympathetic frown. “Tell me more,” he says. I lean back in the chair and for some reason begin to wish it were a couch. “It’s like this,” I say. “I’m not riding the Bandit enough and I think it needs more attention than I can give it. I keep making plans for it but nothing ever seems to happen…” The words drift out of me, swirling and eddying like water in a rock pool on a receding tide. “How long have you felt like this?” Brian’s voice is a thousand miles away and fading… Okay, okay – Brian’s joint isn’t remotely like a psychiatrist’s consulting room. He runs a motorcycle workshop, does it very well, and has little apparent need of additional customers. He is successful because he’s polite and courteous to his customers, can rely on his decades of experience in the business to identify issues and their causes, and has the intelligence to ask the right question at the right time. His guiding principle is to educate and serve his customers, which is about as far from Sergeant Rock’s philosophy as I can imagine. We’ve always copped a lot of motorcycle for our bucks: I don’t know how the purchase price of a GSX-R1000 compares with that of a 1959 BSA DBD34 Goldie on a corrected basis, but with fuel injection, traction control, variable-length intake tracts and all the other good juice manufacturers are giving us, dud servicing is a recipe for disaster in 2009. We still have plenty of problems in motorcycling, many provided by various tiers of government, others contributed by hot-headed riders and comatose car drivers. We can’t always fix these, but doing the best you can for yourself should be basic, and it ought to include good, qualified attention for your ride. Clip all the apexes you want but don’t cut corners. – Bob Guntrip
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